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  1. Hi, I'm RisenPhoenix. I'm going to try and be normal here (*snort*) , in an attempt to be somewhat accessible to people who might drop into my thread now that we have merged the guilds. I've been around the block here in some form or another since 2012, so I've gotten lax with how I do challenges. For me, this challenge is definitely about becoming more Normal. Or at least MY normal. Which besides 2020 being 2020 I also mostly had upended in the tail end of the last year after almost nearly keeping it together. Almost very nearly practically together. So, here's to getting back on the normal horse that's probably some giant antlered zebra bear but whatever, it's my horse deal with it. 1) Normal Diet: Paleo-leaning calorie counting My diet is normally pretty paleo-leaning, but the holidays and some quarantine baking turned it a bit carb heavy. Not that it's a BAD thing, but it's hard to quantify my baking sometimes, which makes my consumption hard to track. Ultimately I do best on a higher fat diet with counting my calories. I'm going a slightly lower energy counting method which ignores all my veggies - they aren't calorically dense enough to make the hassle of putting them all in worth it. Slightly will underestimate my carb counts and what not, but that's fine. I'm looking to get into a calorie deficit again more than anything. Since I went to the doctor today, we'll use their clothed, mid morning weigh in that I tried to avoid as the start point: 222 pounds (which is still lower than I was in January 2020 so I'm counting it as a win). Goal is to get back down to closer 200-ish. At the very least to fitting easier into my jeans again. Calories logged should be net 2200 calories or less, when accounting for physical activity. But really I have enough glycogen stores right now that I should be able to fuel quite a few workouts before I need to feed myself more. 2) Normal Body: PT Exercises as dictated, 1 yoga class a week, 1 aikido class a week Part of my derailment at the end of last year was screwing up my back after doing a crappy deadlift pull. And then not paying attention to it as much as I should. And then having a mental breakdown where I tried to do a workout to help with the mental health because I felt physically better-ish but learned shortly thereafter that I am impatient as everything seized up on me. A doctor's appointment today got me a referral for PT and a bottle of muscle relaxers. So I need to 1) set up that appointment, 2) do the damn exercises, 3) I should really work on doing weekly yoga that I pay for and the aikido I don't need to pay for but do anyway. Start small and make sure the last two things don't interfere with the PT things. 3) Normal Brain: Self care Journaling, reading/tech disconnect 1/day I am perpetually an anxious mess, but the last year did enjoy ramping it up to 11. After a breakdown I had late November, I decided to put myself back on some meds. A couple weeks in and things are settling in well it seems, but I've also been on vacation for two weeks, so the rest test of work and life really hasn't taken root yet. In addition to drugs I finally got my butt to therapy and it's.... a thing. Not really sure it's giving me much space to benefit from, but we're still relatively early (4 or 5 sessions in). One thing is that I have used NF for years as a journaling space, which this will probably keep being, but I do want to try and find a guided journal or series of prompts to write for my eyes only in an attempt to not have me self-censor (which I have done before - yes people who've followed me before, that was me censoring myself occasionally). So I need to find a journal or a list of prompts to use. Suggestions welcome. I also really need a tech disconnect once a day, even if it's just reading for 30 minutes. My brain works better having that space. Thankfully I have three books on my kindle in queue, plus two others in hand. So reading material is abound. I'm also trying to get my library/study space up and functional (after a year of the room being a junk room I just tossed things into), which will include a space to do crafts/projects/puzzles/legos. That'll help. That's the gist. Try to be normal, or at least as normal as I can be. (New people will quickly see that normal for me is very much a relative scale....)
  2. It's been a long while since I've had a gif-laden challenge. Or a themed challenge. And everyone can always use more Avatar in their life. And the new year seems a good time to do that. In a way, the limited challenges have been my vague attempts at keeping myself moving forward in some way, while dealing with a whole lot of other crap. There's been a lot of upheaval, a lot of change, a lot of drama, and a whole bunch of RP sitting in the corner rocking back and forth with anxiety. I think a majority of these things are ultimately one-off things (shodan exams, company reorgs, house buying, dojo moves and fundraisers), but also they were a slew of things that I feel prevented me from actually focusing on myself and what I want, rather than being pulled along and put into a form of survival mode (Okay yes, the house thing is all on me, but damned if I underestimated how that process works). And so far in 2020, there are definitely things I'm looking at that aren't my most favorite thing to deal with that I'll have to do, but for the most part I want to take 2020 to refocus on my needs a bit. Within reason. 1) Teaching to Learn - Teach once a week, and train at least four hours After all of the drama that happened a few months ago, I am now covering a Friday night class at my dojo for the foreseeable future. (Cliffnotes version of previous drama: Asked to start covering morning classes and teaching. Then asked to cover a class and told I couldn't teach. When I asked why, got told 3 different reasons for why I couldn't teach and in every case was excluded from any form of communication. Then ignored. Now this.) So the large issue here is.... technically the Friday night class is a weapons class. I have been given permission to *not* have it be a weapons class if I so wish, but my dojo does so few weapons things that I would rather not. Honestly, it's a good chance for me to work on the relation our weapon work has to our unarmed techniques, and is a good study in physiology, using ones center, and extension. But it also means that I need to work on all of those things. So on top of trying to figure out the best ways to relay those things to other people, I really need to solidify things myself on that front. Entertainingly, I taught this same class last week as a last-minute favor. The only 'negative' comment I got from the yukyusha was that he "Did totally stab me" when I was trying to teach something. Hey, I'm learning, was my response. But I should work on not getting stabbed during class. 2) Count All the Calories - Track everything eaten, every day, even if it's a hassle My weight/body fat has spiked pretty high since the car accident/depression/forced shodan exam anxiety that defined Late 2018/Early 2019. I tried to do some things, but nothing really worked that great. I kept kind of waffling on what I allowed and what I didn't. Work has a million snacks, which made stress eating happen a lot more than I would allow over all. And for a while I was pretty much dependent on the food that was ordered on company dime to save money. But that meant I let myself get lax about my eating habits. Stress made me less likely to batch cook anything. And since moving I haven't exactly restocked my kitchen and freezer to have good, quick meals. So I need to start logging things again, and hopefully in a couple months I'll at least comfortably fit in the majority of my clothing again. I'm angling for about 2000 calories a day. No idea where my weight is at, and honestly if I step on a scale I'll get depressed. So I'm avoiding all forms of "pre" measurement here. Yea, not great for trending, but better for my mental health. 3) The Morning is Good - Wake up MWF at 0530. See how plausible it would be to leave the house at 0600 for a workout. So the holiday challenge I got somewhat comfortable with the pre-0600 wake up. I didn't make it to the 0530 time regularly because a lot happened and I needed to prioritize sleep and recovery and sanity over an arbitrary wake up time I set for myself that did not impact when I got to work. But trying to get to that point this time is the goal. I've got a tentative plan that I'll join the gym literally across the street from me early next year, but I want to make sure I'm up and somewhat human before I go drop that cash. I would love if it were a slightly fancier gym, but I can't complain since it's like $15 a month. But anyway, we can see how I fair doing early mornings. At least now I have a coffee pot that will start brewing coffee when I set it, so that's great. 4) All Reading is Good Reading - Read something every morning over coffee I have a goal in 2020 to read 30.... things. I tried to keep some tabs on what I read in 2019, but I lost count, and 30 seems like a good number. I'm leaving it as "things" because I'm totally going to count novellas and graphic novels in this count. Probably not run-of-the-mill comics though, unless its a compilation that covers an entire story arc. But I do want to tone down my morning reddit browsing that's jumped up in the last few months. For the most part I'm not exactly learning anything, and I rarely feel strong enough about my opinion that I consider it worth it to comment on things I do read. So at least I should try and at least read things I feel stronger about and will help me. First book I'll finish in 2020 is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. I'm about halfway through it right now. Nothing particularly earth shattering other than realizing a lot of my reactions make perfect sense, and why I've been feeling so drained at work lately (read: Having to extrovert for things a lot more because a lot is annoying me and not recovering well enough after the fact because crazy 2019). Morning reading should help with the pre-work charging, though. And thus begins my 2020 challenge. We'll see how good I am at maintaining it.
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