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  1. My main goal for this challenge is to start the downwards trend of my weight. - track food in MFP daily - aim for 2200 calories intake per day - do the walking mini challenge ✅ Now 2200 calories is higher than I’ve tried in the past and I won’t lose weight fast with that but I am trying something new. I am experimenting with a smaller deficit because I have a pattern where I do really good for awhile then go a bit crazy for a week straight. I have some fun and a bit crazy news ☺️ Mr.R and I decided to bring home my favourite puppy from his parents litter. She’s just so sweet and we bonded with her and we think maybe her with us. So we are very excited haha 😂 I’m hoping she will be able to become my barn dog because the other 3 failed in that department.
  2. The hot, muggy air makes it hard for me to continue trekking through the jungle. Brushing aside the tall brush, I continue my trek toward the faint glimmer of water I see far off. Concerned about alligators, I keep a wary eye out. As I get closer, I can see the water. What I was hoping was a river is really only a swamp. Edging closer to the edge, I look around, trying to spot the spring. For centuries, there have been rumors that hidden in this jungle is the mystical fountain of youth. From it's water spring forth water said to give youth and vitality to all who drink from it. But all I see is murky water. I squat at the edge of the swamp, silent, listening to see if I hear anything. I tilt my head, is that the sound of water bubbling? Following the sound, I walk away from the swamp. I find a small spring with water bubbling up Could this be the spring? It sure doesn't look like much. Taking the glass container out of my backpack, I fill it up with the water. I take a sip of the water. It tastes good, refreshing my parched throat. Then I wait. Do I feel different? Nope. Perhaps the fountain was just a legend. I don't know when exactly it happened. It wasn't all at once. Just sort of gradual. It seemed that day by day I was feeling more energetic. Able to get more done. I enjoyed going for walks, and working in the garden. Little by little, I felt I was getting stronger. First I could do one pull up, and then another. I enjoyed using my muscles, and seeing what I could accomplish. I was more limber. I could squat, or sit on the ground when I wanted. I enjoyed eating healthy foods. Could it be that it really wasn't a legend after all? Maybe there was a Fountain of Youth and I had discovered it? Challenge goals: Food: Track on MFP- even if I am not going to make my daily goal Hit calorie goal Strength- keep working on NF bodyweight 3 times a week Cardio 3 x a week rowing zone 2, or maybe walk, running as the weather improves walking. trying for most days 10,,000 (yes,I know most is very non specific, I'm just using my judgement here, if I have time and the weather isn't awful ,walk, if it doesn't happen, no guilt) spring- running or rowing, about once a week, but it may be only once every other week Flexibility Floor Loco or Mobility with GMB I'm also trying to do a lot of yardwork, so no real goal for amount of days, just use wisdom and try and get some in as time allows Life_ Daily quest list- goal is to get 80% done Weekly quest list- I have so many things I want to get done this spring. A few big yard working projects. I need to decorate my guest bedroom. And scrapbook. Plus, just normal life stuff. Hopefully a weekly quest list will help me focus and conquer!
  3. I'm still in more of a celebrate Holiday mode than buckle down and get stuff done , but the challenge has started, so I'm here ! My big challenge that I've set for myself is to complete level 18 on the NF journey by year end. I'm on level 14. I don't know how much the difficulty level ramps up each level, but that seem do-able. I already have a habit of working out. So just keep doing that. I'm also doing NF Floor Loco (a short extension of Elements) rowing, walking,NF mobility, staff training Those are extras and just fit in as time allows. "NO I WILL DO THEM ALL"!! - ahem forgive the Ranger brain take over- really they aren't requirements just various ways to get cardio and movement in. The other big goal is to track calories. My goal is to have between 1,600 and 1,850 calories a day and track on MFP. The life goal is to be a person that uses time efficiently in the morning. I've made progress in that area. I have established a Bible reading habit, I drink a glass of water, and then I empty the dishwasher. But then I get sucked into the computer time warp and waste too much time. My goal is to start workout preferably at 10 am, but no later than 10 :15. I also want to get back into the habit of making weekly and daily list to do. Because it is the new year, I decided to work on a new way to track. My big problem with tracking stuff is I just plain forget. I bought this cool tracker. Amazon.com : Habit Tracker Calendar - Daily, Weekly & Monthly Goal Tracking Planner, Floral Journal Notepad with Spiral Bound & Hanger - To-Do List, Undated 12 Months, 8"x10" - Juccybe Collection : Office Products I will hang it on my wall, where I can easily see it. Besides the calorie tracking goal, I also plan to track Bible memory, 10 minutes a day on a creative project, and10 minutes a day reading my non fiction book. I also bought this for my daily/weekly tracker. Amazon.com: Weekly Planner Pad for Women , Planning Pad, 6.7"x9.8 58" Undated Tear Off Sheets, Organizer, Productivity Tracker for Organizing Goals, Tasks, Ideas, Notes, To Do Lists, Office Organization : Everything Else I plan on taping it to a cupboard door so I can easily spot it. I also updated my NF Epic Quests. Now I have points I can earn and check off. The only problem is I don't usually go to that site, so I may forget about it.. We shall see. Not sure if this works for everyone else, but here is my NF quest page My Character (nerdfitness.com) I included creative endeavors on there too. All right, let's start 2022 with a bang
  4. The Announcement of Intentions for this Challenge FOR THIS CHALLENGE I, SNARKYFISHGUTS, WILL COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING log food n My Fitness Pal, and make adjustments to my diet in a slow progression to a more balanced way of eating that will help me lose weight. Exercise nearly every day! I also want to go on more hikes this month! Complete a list of chores in the garden/yard. Continuously fight against the endless weeds✔️✔️ Plant lavender around the house.✔️ edge the flowerbeds✔️ put down mulch in the flowerbeds✔️ clean and treat wood railing. ✔️ Clean the service room and organize the garden tools Clean up the woodpile and burn lots of wood this month ✔️ relocate hostas ✔️ I had some extra items here, but I think this is going to be all I can get done this time!
  5. Big mood right here. With health, with finances, with everything. Quest: Lose 50lbs by Dec 31, 2021 [46 weeks] Progress: 0lbs Sub Quests: - Aim for 1700 calories / day Track calories daily Veggie or fruit with lunch + dinner 1 starch per meal (2 slices of toast, 1 cup rice, 1 cup pasta, 1 medium potato, 1 serving cereal) - 2 extra movements / week Good Morning Workout weekday mornings Cozy Up Sofa Workout once during work day Walks on Saturday + Sunday - Do something creative every day (paint, doodle, digital art) Passive Habits > 2L water / day > Floss + brush teeth every night This challenge is about pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying to move forward (as it always is). I want to apply this to multiple parts in my life. I really want to keep chiseling away at the definition of my ideal life and what I will need to do to make that a possibility. In my ideal life I have a fantastic relationship with food. I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full. I appreciate my food and enjoy every bite. In my ideal life I am a strong and able woman. My body is useful and can do many things. I get to spend more time outside doing active things and exploring nature. My gyms are lakes, oceans, forests, beaches, meadows, mountains, and deserts. In my ideal life Mr.R and I don't need to work a traditional Mon to Fri 9-5pm. We have time to do things we want to do and the resources in place to do those things. We live a flexible life where the jobs we choose to work are because we think they are fun. In my ideal life I am creative and make fun, bold, colourful paintings that invoke feelings of whimsy and nostalgia. I experiment and play with my art. Ideal Me I am continuing my goals for eating at a calorie deficit and getting more active minutes. I am asking myself a little mental checklist of questions when I eat... especially if it is impromptu snacking. On top of my 90mins of exercise from horseback riding I am looking to do 2 more active things (ideally this will add up to 1 extra hour of exercise). I am thinking my main form of exercises will be walking or DDR. Ideal Life I am taking steps towards getting other streams of income aside from my day job. I started investing in 2020 and last challenge I took the leap and set up an Etsy shop. This whole small business thing is scary but also exciting! It will help me gain money for my investments and I am hoping it will help burn some of my random pandemic energy which might help me snack less. Plus its creative! My first goal for the store is 160 sales so that I can use that money to purchase an iPad Pro + apple pen. That goal seems huge right now haha but if you don't try then it won't happen right? My very good friend was actually my first sale on Etsy! I am very appreciative towards her because this has been such a learning experience and now I only need 159 sales! I am also going to take my original art more seriously and really work on being more creative in my life by painting, doodling and making "sticker" designs. I am looking to get my online portfolio up and running and I can put stuff up for sale on their too. 2021-02-08: 250lbs (Zero week starting) 2021-02-11: 249.6lbs 2021-02-18: 252.6lbs 2021-02-25: 252.2lbs 2021-03-04: 248.2lbs 2021-03-11: 2021-03-18: Sales Goal: 2/160
  6. I was trying to find a good theme. But I think I'll take the easy route for now, and go with my name sake. And some Harry Potter. I wrote some venting stuff. It wasn't very good. So let's cut to my big 2018 goals: Blackbelt Prep Iaido Prep Get down to 15% body fat I need to build back up a whole lot of habits that have fallen to the wayside the last couple weeks/months. I also haven't done much physical activity in December, with the official start of the 'new' job and the travel prep and traveling. So slow and steady is how this is going to go, until I build back up to where I'm comfortable. That said, I DO need to keep in mind the whole "schedule free time" thing. I don't want to end up exhausted and stressed by all the 'fun' stuff I'm supposed to be doing. And so, we begin. 1) Return to the Count: Count all the calories, 2400 calories per day (taking into account physical activity) I do really well calorie counting. It honestly is the best way for me to both lose weight, and maintain weight. So I'm going to log all the food in MFP, like the olden days. Unlike the olden days, I'm going to be actually taking into account my physical activities. Honestly, it won't be much, because I stopped lifting months ago to give myself some more sleep time. Maybe the lifting will make a come back, maybe it won't, but either way no lifting will likely happen in January for me. Also, some additional stuffs: Nothing but fruit and nuts from the work snack stashes will be allowed. Also the lifesaver mints. Which definitely have calories. Might actually empower the receptionist to knock my hand away from the candy dish.... But I should be able to get some decent calorie cutting by not eating all the things at work. 2) Aikido Archive - Document 5 techniques a week in name, one a week in video format I have seriously been slacking on this project since I decided to do it. By which I mean I wrote up the base document and haven't filled in a damn thing. So I need to start working on that. I should be able to get through the 5th to 2nd kyu exams pretty easily, and I can actually put our testing video into the document at this point, at least until I get the techniques individually recorded. 3) Class Time - 5 Hours of aikido a week Like, seriously. How is this not expected at this point. I'm aiming right now for QUALITY hours on the mat, more than quantity. I plan on testing the end of 2018 or the beginning for 2019, and I will have more than enough hours by then. I don't need more hours, I need more brains on the mat. I need to start playing again a bit more, I need to embrace the fact that I suck, and I need to find ways around it. Eventually I also want to start attending classes at Harvard Aikikai (at least once in a while) and New England Aikikai. Both because the different instruction will help, and also it'll be good for helping mend the relationships between the dojo's current generation. Even if the older generation can't play nicely due to the history behind everything. 4) Find an easy, short mobility routine for ankles. Perform in the morning. I've come to the conclusion that my ankles are my biggest limiting factor in aikido these days. My knees bend easily enough, but my ankle lock out a bit sooner than I would like, which makes lowering my center while maintaining my posture a bit more tricky. This likely also contributes to my hatred of squats. In any case, I'd like to get my mornings started with some mobility work, so maybe things will get a bit better on that front. 5) Extra Credit Adulting: Tidy up the Pantry Purge old/unworn clothing Put the clothing away Fix the Oven and/or call the landlord to replace over Find two new recipes to try Host a house Game night That should cover it for the first couple of weeks. I need to get my head back in the game. At least this time I have stable employment. What an odd feeling that is. Hopefully it helps give me an anchor for the coming year.
  7. Hey y'all, Parker here again! The last challenge didn't go too hot because I had very minimal planning and dedication. I underestimated the difficulties that would arise, but this time around I'm going to buckle down and succeed. I'm going to revisit my last goals and try to make these a habit by the end of the challenge: 1. I will be counting my calories for every meal and keeping a log. I aim to consume a maximum of 1300 so that I am at a deficit, and I will be sticking as close to paleo as I can. 2. I will cook at least 3 meals out of the week at home. I will probably focus on a particular meal (i.e. cooking at least 3 dinners out of the 7 at home instead of eating out). 3. I will get 8 hours of sleep every night. Besides tonight, I will try to be in my bed with electronics off by midnight. Level-Up Goal: Shoot and edit a promotional video for a business in town I'm really looking forward to this and to seeing a real change in my body by the end of the year. I've been working out consistently since 2 challenges ago and have lost some weight, but I feel like this challenge will be the boost I need to solidify it all. I'll finally be changing what I eat to meet healthy standards. Good luck with all of your challenges too, rangers!
  8. Neila Female, 24 years old, average height Starting Weight: 197 pounds Goal Weight: 140 pounds Big Why: Because I want to be proud of the person I present to the world every day. Week 1 Plan (January 2nd, 2018-January 7th, 2018): Morning Workout- 30 minute work out before work (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) 30 minute workout before eating (Saturday, Sunday) Workouts consist of (at a minimum): 20 minutes stationary bicycle Maximum band-assisted pull-ups, sets of 5 Breakfast- 2 poached eggs, 10 ounces black coffee Lunch- Eat out (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) 1/4 grilled chicken breast, 2 servings steamed vegetables (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) Dinner- Eat Out (Tuesday, Friday, Saturday) 6 ounces baked fish, 2 servings steamed vegetables (Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday) No Snacks- No snacks above allowed 1700 calories a day total intake No pop- no pop allowed any day Tracking- track weight and calories every day
  9. The dawn will take you all Spring is upon us here in Australia and I'm beginning to feel my funk lift, but I'm not out of the woods yet so I'm staying in the temple for another challenge, very grateful for the encouragement the monks have provided. Goals 1. Positives. At least once a week list out some positive things that happened that week. 2. Rehab/Mobility. 2 hours of rehab/mobility per week. This I'm planning as 10 mins per day of exercises for my recovering back and 2 x 30 min mobility sessions of some sort (yoga/swimming/stretching etc.) 3. Calorie Counting. This is one of my least favourite things but it's very effective and I need to do it to shed my 'winter coat' Starting weight: TBA on Monday... Calorie goal per day 4. Learning Python. 3 hours per week of coding Python. I bought a raspberry pi recently to learn Python with, largely as a distraction from playing addictive video games and because I enjoy it so this should be a fun goal. Things to look forward to: - I'm going to Europe for 2.5 weeks in November - I've booked 2 nights in a pub in the Peak District (An area of natural beauty in the UK) and will be spending the weekend with only my brother. We've never done this before and I don't really know him that well so this is a chance for us to hang out and get to know each other better. - I will get to see my good friends in London and Berlin - I get to spend 4 days intensively learning some cool new technology
  10. I’ve got my first 10K smack dab in the middle of this challenge. I will be attempting to prepare myself for this hell so here's the plan: lift 3x per week run/hike/cardio 3x per week - first two weeks will be running then the last two weeks will be any cardio i want burpees 3x per week: 20 per session yoga 60 mins per week stay within 2000cals per day or 14,000 cals per week life things to keep in mind 7/7 & 7/8: Wedding party duties for SO’s brother’s wedding 7/15: Gansett 10K 7/16: Dad’s bday brunch and Kevin Hearne 7/21 – 7/23: Saco River camping and canoe float 7/30: Garbage and Blondie
  11. TO DEFEAT Whoops wrong movie.. Now that you won’t ever get that song out of your head...you’re welcome! What would a bunch of Disney themed challenges be without Mulan? It was about time I finally had this theme especially because it’s time to get down to business. No simple challenge like last time. Calories 0/28 days (Passing 14) I’ve hit a wall in regards to my weight. I’m losing one or two pounds but then I gain 5 back and repeat over and over. While I still continue to workout, I’ve failed to evaluate my eating because I like food and am scared I’ll have to make changes. I know I’ll have to make changes. Sigh. My plan this challenge is to determine my TDEE and record my calories and macros. I’m not going to plan out my calories just yet because I want to see what I’ve been doing. If anyone knows how to determine their TDEE, hook me up with some links. Dead Hangs 0/28 days (Passing 20) So last challenge I finally put my pull up bar back up and decided to take a chance and see if I could at least hang off it. I PR’d at 5 seconds… Workouts 0/15 (Passing 12) Same as last challenge. I want to keep up my workouts and plan 3 workout days a week. This time I’m included my zero week ones. Adulting 0/5 Tasks This is always a good life goal for me. Apparently I need a challenge to actually do stuff.
  12. that is how i prefer to enjoy a spartan sprint OCR. with naked friends. i took about 5 days off everything and am ready to jump headfirst into zero week in order to start preparing for the spartan on june 17th. 24 days. totally enough time to prep. GOAL 1: need to maintain (or perchance lose some?!) weight to be able to handle the BW work. stay within 2000cals per day or 14,000 cals per week GOAL 2: i love lifting. lifting is the best. lift 2x per week GOAL 3: going to be doing spartan workouts 5x per week from the couch to spartan sprint program GOAL 4: get that conditioning burning. burpees 3x per week: start at 15 per session for the first 2 weeks. 20 per session last two weeks GOAL 5: don't get twisted. yoga 60m per week similar stuff as before. i think my summer challenges get repetitive because i have so many short vacas that throw a wrench into things like calorie counting. so i keep needing to have the same goals, which is fine! just repetitive. don't give up on me yet, folks! life things to keep in mind 5/28 & 5/29 – Boston Calling and Memorial Day 6/4 – Mom’s bday 6/10 – Vag Mons performance 6/17 – Spartan 6/24 thru 6/26 – Provincetown vaca
  13. Keeping it simple. 1) Time to Cut: Drop to an average of 2600 calories per day by the end of the challenge I haven't been on a (major) cut since I left for Camp back in September. By and large, I've figured out that at 3,000 calories a day my body is pretty content to hover around 210 pounds, with a gut measurement of 36.5 inches. I'm less concerned about the weight this time, but I'm not feeling that gut measurement. At my thinnest I was measuring a hair under 35.5", and ideally I'd be slightly under 35" and in the 15% bodyfat range. I'm just feeling doughy around the middle more than I'd like. Add in the fact that mid-June I have a wedding I want to look extra spiffy at, and I think now is a good time to see how my body handles a cut. Also I now understand why cuts are terrible, because I'm ravenous at 2500 calories usually these days, so this is going to go a bit on the slow side. Week 1 I want to angle for about 2800-2900 calories a day. Week 2 I want to angle for 2700-2800 calories a day. Week three I should be hitting between 2600-2700 calories. And that last week I should be more around 2600 pretty consistently or lower. Going to measure my weight twice a week (Sunday and Wednesday) for tracking purposes, and also my gut measurement once a week. Nothing too crazy. 2) Back to the Grind: Three Non-aikido workouts a week The last month and a half has been not exactly ideal for me in terms of my regularly scheduled life. I was injured, then traveling, then sick, then training for the exam, then sick again. Today marks the first time I've lifted in almost 2 weeks. Prior to that I had lifted only once about two weeks before then. But we are also getting really nice weather now, so I may start rucking again through the woods instead of lifting on Monday and Friday like I normally would. Still aiming for 5-7 aikido classes, but that's been constant for the last 5 years, so I don't exactly see that changing any time soon. 3) Getting Deep: Squat mobility every day Jonathon Mead is one of the Headmasters I met at Camp NF. Awesome guy, and very big on getting people outside and moving and being natural. Very MoveNat-like. He recently posted a Primal Squat mobility guide for free. I've always felt my squat and my depth were the weakest part of my lifts, so I figured I'd sign up and give it a whirl. Goal is to do this every morning of the challenge, probably just before my coffee/while the kettle is heating up. I figure that should give me plenty of time to do the routine and then I get the coffee after the fact as a reward. Mmmm. Coffee. 4) Anti-Hermit: Stop Hermiting as much Okay, doing something super different and challenging for me. My anxiety has been through the roof (shocking, I know). It has mostly impacted my sleeping in terms of insomnia and really obnoxious amounts of sleep to be a functional human. I also am aware that I hermit pretty hard in the best of times. One shocking thing I've noticed is that now and again, I actually like being able to see my friends. I guess I'll credit @Big_Show with the revelation, since this dawned on me while I was having a skype chat with him not long ago. So my goal is to be social and/or have two skype chats/hangouts with people a week. The skype hangouts are pretty low key even for me, and shockingly seem to do a large amount of good for my introvert mental state. Weird. Also I'm not allowed to count going to aikido as being social, unless I actually go out with people afterwards. Driving people home does not count in this regard. So yea. Something simultaneously not crazy AND crazy for me this time around. Imagine that. Doing a challenge properly. Weird.
  14. Hello. This is my second challenge, and since I can't seem to decide which guild to join, gonna stay with Rebels for a little bit while! Xia Dong from Nirvana in Fire While I was trying to decide which guild to join by discussing with a fellow D&D player friend (spoiler: failed), there were--- archetypes of character being brought up. A Rogue with the lacquered veneer of Bard, a loner (?) human-favored-enemy Hunter/Ranger, a Bard with Fighter capabilities. Should I incorporate dance into it? Will I end up taking Body Combat? ...Anyway, finally decided it's too early in my fitness journey to even try deciding on a class/direction to pursue. It'll just distract. In the discussion the character/officer Xia Dong from chinese drama Nirvana in Fire was mentioned and I thought-- that's not a bad idea. Nimble, practical, slightly awkward/stiff but not in the least lacking common sense. Let's go for that. So far, this is what I'm going for: Dexterity-based class that can survive (thrive!) in both civilized world/ urban setting and wilderness. Ability scores composition would be DEX/INT/CHA (sometimes substituting CHA/WIS with INT) with CON before STR. Live sincerely, sensibly and practically-- but still socially flexible when required. GOALS I. Reduce Burden Excess girth limits movement. 163 cm/ 5'4", small frame. Starting weight 64.1 kg (141.3 lbs) at the beginning of Week 0, target weight 62 kg (136.6 lbs). Weigh everyday. Meal prep (enough for) 5-6 days out of a week. Count and log calories with MyFitnessPal. Aim for 1200 calories/day. Random Encounters: Socializing-proofing. Choose which eating-outs/feeding company are worth the calories and arrange intake around them. II. The Body is A Vehicle Stamina, flexibility, core strength and pliability. Build CON (stamina) Do cardio/walk around total of 3 hours per week (while listening to audiobooks/ lectures). Start preparing for bed 11.30 and sleep at 1 at the latest. Wake up around 7.30. Raise DEX & STR (flexibility and muscle strength). 60 minutes of Ballet Beautiful, 2 times per week. 1 session (45 minutes - 1 hour) of Bellydancing/Yoga for bellydancing basics per week. Learn to self-massage sore muscles. III. Necessary Evil That is The Capital Appearance and social skills. Take better care of appearance (nail, teeth, skin, hair). Get rid/ KonMari-away unloved/unsuitable clothes, accessories and makeup. Pick a social skill/etiquette book to read/summarize. Do concrete actions in order to interact better with people. Good luck and see you around!
  15. A figure dressed in the simple brown cloak of the Jedi stepped forward, bowing down before the Jedi Council. Pushing the hood back, she reveals the light green skin of a Mirialan, with a few facial tattoos dotted mainly around her eyes. Her dark brown hair is pulled back into a simple bun, held together by a leather cord. "Kareesh, the Council has called you here today to present you to your Master," an elderly Human said, his arms motioning towards a male Nautolan. He stepped forward, bowing his head slightly. "This is Knight Yel Arru. He is now in charge of your training." The human turned his attention to Knight Arru. "Do you accept this Padawan under your charge?" The Nautolan looked at Kareesh for a moment, his black pupiless eyes examining her closely. Without turning to the Council, he said," Yes, I accept this charge." "Then, from this moment until you deem her worthy of the title of Jedi, Padawan Kareesh is under the charge of Knight Yel Arru. May the Force guide you and be with you." Later, Kareesh was kneeling before Knight Arru. He stood before her, silent for the moment as he reflected on the responsibility he had just taken. Kareesh was the first Padawan he had taken on, as he had only become a Jedi Knight a year before. "Padawan, there are many steps to becoming a Jedi. It is not an easy path, but those who are determined, and who believe in the Force can do it." He started to pace slightly as he spoke. "First, we must have the proper mindset. If we allow our thoughts to become clouded with emotions, especially fear and anger, then it creates small cracks in ourselves. Through these cracks, the Dark Side is allowed in. And if the Dark Side is allowed into you, then it will consume you slowly. Do not allow this to happen. Make sure to stop throughout the day and refocus your mind. Clearing it of all emotions. Allow yourself just to be. Focus on your breath. Focus on your body. Do you understand, Padawan?" Kareesh thought for a moment about what her Master had said. "Yes, I believe so." Knight Arru nodded. "Good. Secondly, you must learn about the Force. You have had many teachings about it when you were a Youngling, but now you must take those studies and make them your own. I want you to go into the archives and study upon the writings you find there. Find how the Force applies to your life." He paused for a moment, as if to let Kareesh have a say. She couldn't think of anything to say, so she just nodded to show her understanding. "Lastly, but no less important than the other two, is you must train your body. The Jedi have always been called upon to help those weaker than ourselves. We have fought against the Dark Side time and time again. Therefore, we must train our bodies in order to be able to fight and defend when we must." "I understand, Master," Kareesh said, nodding slightly. "Good, Padawan. Let your training now begin…" And so it begins indeed. I'm excited for this challenge, and excited to get back on track to becoming the best I can be. I've made you read enough so far, so I'll try and keep the details nice and short-ish. Jedi Mindset (Mental) Meditate for at least 2 times a week Learn About the Force (Spiritual) Bible study at least 2 times a week Jedi Training (Physical) Do yoga at least 2 times a week Count calories at least 5 times a week Stick to diet at least 5 days a week Workout at least 3 times a week To allow myself to become a Jedi, I must consistently do these things for 30 days straight. I will allow myself certain cheat days, but if I have 2 cheat days in a row without a good excuse (like traveling or being sick), then I have to start counting the days over. I'll explain a bit more about the goals here. First, spiritual. I've allowed that to take a backseat to everything else, and I really need to get back to a better place with that. Unless I feel super inclined to share, I probably won't share much with what I'm studying (unless ya'll are super interested or something). Secondly, mental. I have not had a good mental state for awhile. I use to do some meditation,and that helped a bit, so I need to get back to it. As of late, depressive thoughts have been overtaking my life. I've been unable to do things that I want/need to do. I've also been a lot more angry, and that's not good when I'm a wife and parent to a 5-year old. Last, but not least is physical. I'm clinically obese, and I need to change that. Sure, I could probably put part of the blame on my PCOS, but I'm not about to let that control my life more than it has to. My husband and I have been trying for Kid #2 for over 3 years, finally being diagnosed with infertility due to PCOS. Losing weight will help with some of that, so that's going to be my first step to help my health. So, that's my challenge in a not-so-little nutshell. I'm sure I'll share more about me in a later post. Hope to see you tag along!
  16. No, I'm not going to do anything political-themed, despite that quote. Fear not. I just couldn't get the idea for a title out of my head once I had it, lol. So basically, I've REALLY been struggling lately. Constantly failing challenges, yo-yoing in weight, and I recently described how my life has been going lately to somebody as 'kinda like watching Black Swan, super stressful/distressing, but at the same time really good.' I know that technically I'm in a very good place - I have a lovely apartment with no roommates, I live in a wonderful area, I have a stable job that pays decently well and has great benefits, etc - but projects at work, and the rising level of competition for a promotion, are stressing me out, the fact that my current work schedule keeps me out of my aerial studio makes me sad, and this upcoming wedding in April is making me want to cry, because my bridesmaid's dress doesn't zip anymore, and I'm hands down the biggest bridesmaid already. T-T BUT I SHALL PERSIST NEVERTHELESS. (Hence the title, yayy, we came full circle.) Despite everything, I dropped a total of 5 pounds last challenge, and if I can keep that up, I should fit into that stupid dress again by the ceremony. I'll still be bigger than all the other girls, but everybody should be looking at the bride anyways, right? (except once the pictures hit FB... I shall need to be vigilant in untagging myself, hahaha.) NOW FOR WHAT YOU'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! WHAT SORT OF GIFS AND JPGS SHALL I INFLICT UPON YOU THIS GO AROUND?!?!?! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THE LEGEND OF ZELDA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This, like the WoW challenge of last time, has been a long time coming. (I love you, Link) One more thing before we get started: I am DRASTICALLY changing how I do my challenges based on some conversations from last go around. I will be using the same format I use to coach my associates at work. Each metric is graded on a 1-5 scale, with 3 being considered proficient. The individual metrics have different percentages assigned to each number on the scale. (the most difficult metric has a 12% success rate graded as a 3. Yep. That ish is so tough we're happy if you can do it just 12% of the time, hahahaa.) So let's go! Main Quest - Lose 6 pounds. I figure, 'they' say you should be able to healthily lose up to 2 pounds/week, and 1 pound/week is supposed to be low-key, so I'd like to aim for 1.5/week. Goals 1. Swim like a Zora, Run like Epona. (Cardio) 2. Strong as a Goron. (Conditioning) 3. Eat like a Princess. (Calories) Life Quest More Swords. (Comrades) Measurements Height: 5'9" Weight: 205 lbs Waist: 34" Hips: 46" Thigh: 29" (I need to take these in the morning...) Grading Anybody that's been following my rather distressing journey thus far should notice that something is already different! I DIDNT PUT SMART GOALS, OMG PANIC. No, no, calm down, they're still SMART, they're just being measured differently, so I'm presenting them differently. Below is my new grading scale! I will probably update it in the future, sort of like how the scale at work changes when you get a promotion. (totally just made up that little title, but I like it. It's snazzy, true, and saves me from typing out the titles I gave each goal for these challenge's theme. Whoo!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~THE FOUR C'S OF WEIGHT LOSS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1 2 3 4 5 Cardio (30%) 15 minutes/wk 0.5 hours/wk 1 hour/wk 1.5 hours/wk 2 hours/wk Conditioning (30%) 2 full exercises/wk 3 full exercises/wk 4 full exercises/wk 5 full exercises/wk 6 full exercises/wk Calories (30%) 1800+/day 1700s/day 1600s/day 1500s/day 1400s/day Comrades (10%) 3 6 9 12 15 1-2 is red, 3-5 is blue. I will put an example graph below. A ‘full exercise’ in Conditioning is all current sets and reps for one of the Convict Conditioning’s exercise series. (Pushups, pullups, leg raises, or squats.) The reason 6 is an option is because doing two ‘full exercises’ is pretty easily one ‘strength day’. So if better than proficient is 2 strengths days, then if I push myself and do 3 strengths days a week - that would be optimal. The grading for the first 3 should be pretty self explanatory. Cardio & Conditioning are graded by how much I do each week. Calories is graded by how much I eat a day, averaged out for the week. Comrades is the one that probably threw everybody. It's a combination of my Insta-Famous goal from last time, and my realization that I need a 'team' of sorts. A DM never came forward for my (frankly awesome) D&D idea, so I have decided to venture forth into the real world. *shudder* There's an overeaters anonymous meeting every saturday near where I live, and I'm going to start to try to attend. Especially after the caloric debacle that was me while stressed during the last couple weeks, I think that it would be a good thing for me anyways. If I attend a meeting, I get 4 points towards Comrades. Posting (something fitness relevant) on Instagram is 1 point. Posting on here is 1.5 points. Final Challenge Grade is the average of the weeks. Example Week: (Excuse the lame chart... I dont have excel anymore on my computer, b/c microsoft is evil & was all, oh, you had to replace your hard drive? Yeah, we don't care that you backed everything up beforehand, and have pretty concrete evidence you'd already bought office for that computer - you're gonna have to buy another copy of office if you want to use it on the new hard drive. So this was basically hand-drawn in Google Sheets, b/c the insertable charts on there are super uncustomizeable.) Cardio 3 Conditioning 4 Calories 5 Comrades 2.5 Overall 3.85 5 4 3 2 1 Cardio 3 Conditioning 4 Calories 5 Comrades 2.5 Now for the fun part! Motivation I finally got my Sylvanas leggings last time! I didn't 'pass', but I still lost 5 pounds, which was just 1 pounds shy of my goal, and I decided I deserved a little pat on the back, plus I've been lusting after these things for SO DAMN LONG. I'll post a picture once they get to me, but it's international shipping, so don't hold your breath, haha. This time, if I get an overall 3 and/or lose 6 pounds, I'll get a pair of Dragonskin leggings!!! Overall 4 = One of the Game of Thrones seasons on dvd! I've got most of them on my laptop, but I'm such a loser when it comes to having physical copies of things. I just love having my DVDs all organized and lined up on my shelf! And there's something so much more satisfying about running your fingers over the spines of a long row of DVDs (or books for that matter) when trying to make a selection than clicking through a digital library. Overall 5 = a Wii (yeah, I know, I'm behind the times) End game: if I can zip my dress for the wedding in April, I'm buying myself a new TV. !!! Tracker Cardio Conditioning Calories Comrades Total Week 1: / / / / / Week 2: / / / / / Week 3: / / / / / Week 4: / / / / /
  17. Hey everyone, So before when I was trying to lose weight, I was barely ever home and only needed to feed myself. I went after quick, pre-made things like frozen dinners (I know, healthy as anything, but at least they were the Weight Watchers brand?) Now, I'm taking care of my mother and have more of an opportunity to cook at home. I love it, and I've gotten to the point of calculating how many calories are in a total dish, but I was wondering how to figure out what a portion size would be when there's multiple different ingredients with differing portion sizes, and confirmation that I've gotten the calories per serving correct. For example (aka Free Recipe for helping me out if it sounds good to you ) Chunky Meatless Chili: 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes: serving size-1/4 cup; calories per serving- 25; total servings per container-about 7 1 can Goya black beans: serving size-1/2 cup; calories per serving-110; total servings per container-about 3.5 1 can Goya dark red kidney beans: serving size-1/2 cup; calories per serving-90; total servings per container-about 3.5 1/2 of a large red bell pepper, chopped: calories-about 25? I know a whole is around 50 so I guesstimated a little... 1/2 of a large white onion, chopped: calories-about 30. Again, guesstimating. I'm not too strict with calorie counting when it comes to veggies. So I've come to the conclusion that since there's 7 servings of the tomatoes and 7 servings total with beans, the resulting chili would be about 7 servings total? (If I'm wrong, please let me know!) The total to sit and eat the whole pot (very tempting, but I do try to spread it out) would be 930 calories total. So would a serving be half a cup, a whole cup, a barrel...? Thanks in advance! And for anyone interested in making it for themselves, I seasoned with cumin, black pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder (I didn't add any extra salt because it was already present in garlic salt, so I'd add a bit if you just use garlic powder), then topped with 1/4 c of fat-free mozzarella cheese.
  18. Ensi

    Ensi - Fiery Fox

    Here we go again! It's going to be a fire coloured challenge: my rash is acting up, I'm burning down old habits, and Christmas is coming! It seems that my challenges are made of guidelines that I test out in my ongoing quest of losing weight. At the end of the last challenge, I came up with a mixture of intuitive eating and calorie counting, which I'm testing out. The concept is simple: every day, I have a list of foods to eat, and I can eat them whenever I want. The point is to liberate myself from obsessing over mealtimes and counting calories: I'm gonna learn to listen to my body's signals, and since the calories are already counted, I can just pick the foods from the list. Boom. There are two different templates: for the days when I eat lunch at home, and days when I eat lunch at a university restaurant. The list is currently on a Word file, and I just mark down what I've already eaten. The calories have been already counted, so I just need to pick the items I want - if I eat only what's on the list, I know that my calories are in check, and... well, it's just simple. I have a certain amount of calories assigned for certain food groups (for example, meat: 350 calories), but I can shift and modify, if need be (if I have 150 calories left for eating eggs and I know that I'm gonna have fish for dinner, I can drop the eggs and have that fish instead). Since I'm already active and enjoy exercising 2-3 times a week, this is going to be my only goal this challenge. Keep it simple, stupid! Let's do this!
  19. So I must begin my post by confessing that I am one of those dreaded "calorie counters." *hides face in shame* Despite all of its shortcomings, it has worked for me, and while I hope to make changes toward better nutrition now that I've joined NF, I seem to be in reasonably good health currently. Anyway, confession aside, I have a question - is there a "sweet spot" or a way to know when you've hit your body's ideal weight after weight loss? Is it a feeling, a plateau, a measurement? I have been very slowly but steadily losing weight since January, and after losing 16 pounds, I am in a place where I feel much slimmer, people tell me I look good, I'm more active, and I'm well within the healthy weight range for my height. I am also starting to do bodyweight challenges with the goal of receiving weightlifting training in the fall, so if I keep my motivation and stick with that, then I will hopefully see my body composition change and become leaner. However, because I have been counting calories and eating just under the recommended limit every day for more than six months, eating to lose is a very entrenched habit with me now, and I know I could easily keep going for a few more pounds without any trouble. In fact, I could lose up to 15 more pounds and still be within the healthy BMI range for my height. How do I know when enough is enough and I should readjust my calorie goals to maintain instead of lose? Thanks for the advice!!
  20. This story is not about him. For most of my life, I waited for Gandalf to show up. Not literally, although that would be cool, too. Most of the time life was fine; things were comfortable, I had no real complaints. But some days I'd sigh and wail and wonder why Gandalf never came to my door to say, "Here's an adventure, off you go." Then one day it occurred to me. What if I'm not Bilbo? What if ... I AM GANDALF?!? What if all along, I've been living this hobbity life and the whole time I'm really a meddlesome wizard instead? And I just never knew it? (You'd think I would notice; hitting my head on the ceiling, all the chairs are too small ...) So this challenge will be about this Adventurer finally getting her teeth into some adventures. Goal 1: The Financial Adventure So I looked at my list of things I want to do (see previous challenge) and the obstacle I kept running into over and over is, "This costs money, which I don't have." Finish the remodeling? Money. Classes/lessons of any kind? Money. Things that require equipment? Money. Things that require travel? Money. Things that require classes, equipment, and travel? You guess it, money again. And I don't have cable, buy daily lattes, get manicures - any of the things people suggest you cut out to save money. My budget's pretty tight. However, I do have a habit of impulse purchasing things that aren't stupid but I don't necessarily need right now. And if I didn't have any credit card debt, I'd have money for more exciting things. The plan here is threefold: 1. Stick to the monthly budget. I'm going to try the cash-in-envelopes system. When the cash is gone, nothing more can be purchased. 2. Save what's left. At the end of the month, if anything remains, it goes into savings to guard against emergencies so I don't have to charge unexpected expenses. (If I manage to stay on budget, there should be some money left at the end of the month.) 3. Pay down debt. I get side jobs from time to time. The money from these will be split in half. Half can be spent on non-essentials (paint for the remodeling, yoga class, books I really want, etc.). The other half goes to pay down the credit cards. Goal 2: The Cooking Adventure One thing you don't want on an adventure is a lot of extra, unnecessary stuff. Everything I've read about backcountry hikes says that 35 pounds is the absolute upper maximum amount you want to carry. Well, I'm already hauling 60 extra pounds with me every day. Eating cleaner has helped, but I think I've gone as far as I can with that alone. The time has come for ... calorie counting. (Insert ominous music here). I decided to take the hassle out of it by planning four weeks ahead, figuring out the calories in each meal. Each week, I'll pre-prep 4 servings each of 3 different meals. And just to be adventurous, I'll be trying many new recipes. I'm going with a "mostly Paleo but not obsessing about it" theme. I got a kitchen scale in order to be sure I'm getting the correct portion sizes. This week will look something like this: Breakfast: Eggs and any vegetable (but probably broccoli), and a banana for approximately 400 calories Meal Option 1: Meatball stew (my own recipe), sauerkraut, and an apple, 398 calories Meal Option 2: Thai chicken zoodle salad (NomNomPaleo) and strawberries, 416 calories Meal Option 3: Spicy tuna cakes (NomNomPaleo again), brussels sprouts, and an orange, 388 calories I also have a list of healthy/reasonably healthy 100 calorie snacks, from which I can pick two a day. This should put me at around 1400 calories a day, but I'll allow up to 1500. I'll also have two "free" meals a week - they still need to fit the calorie plan, but don't have to be prepped ahead of time so I can have what I'm in the mood for. I also have a couple of different breakfast options in case I get tired of eggs and broccoli. Goal 3: The Adventure Adventure There are a few things on my list that require little to no money. I'll start with those. 1. Cartwheels! I always wanted to do a cartwheel, but being an unathletic child with overprotective parents who were terrified I was going to hurt myself, I never managed to do one. The first step, it seems, is a handstand. So I'm going to follow the plan in Steve's post (https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2013/10/24/how-to-handstand-better-than-luke-skywalker/) and add five minutes of handstand practice to my daily workout. 2. Walk the Parks - Last summer/fall I went on Park Quests to all the local city parks. Now I'll be expanding to the state. This challenge I want to walk all 20 miles of trails at the nearest state park. The park is only about 20 minutes away, and I can get an annual parks pass for $50 or I can go twice and pay the $7 entrance fee for a mere $14 - the parks pass is the better value, but it will depend on my budget. Bonus Goal: The Art and Character Adventure Bet you were wondering where that 34% more art was, weren't you? I want to have more fun with my Stealthstitcher character, and since I have to draw for work I hardly ever get around to drawing for fun. I'm going to combine the two and at least once a week, do some challenge/character related drawing. I've got ideas; I just have to sit down with my pencils and paper and get to it. I also want to complete my character sheet with my epic quest checklist.
  21. And in three gifs, I sum up how my life over the past two months. I decided to quit my job to help my mental health. I experienced a whole lot of chaos with last minute job interviews, a nail biting, down-to-the-wire job offer. A much needed vacation. More chaos as I watched the perils of small start ups interfere with if I had a job. And finally, a beginning to settle down into a new circumstance, at the core the same, but now with some definite new quirks to figure out. So clearly I regenerated, and I need to learn to live with a dislike of my kidney color. Added to this, I have three major physical activities coming up at the end of the year. Camp NF from September 21-25. My 30th birthday Ruck November 11th. And I plan on testing for first kyu in December. All of them are going to push me to my limits in some way, shape, or form. I want to up my strength and PR my big three lifts at Camp. The Ruck is going to involve me having to embrace the suck and work on my endurance. And the first kyu exam is going to require a build up of a good library of techniques reliably, including being healthy and mobile enough to perform them well. So, how's this challenge going to go? I'm thinking something like this: 1) Wibbly Wobbley Timey Wimey Stuff: Figure out a new work and exercise schedule. Aim for 5-6 classes aikido, Stairs on Wednesday, and two lifting sessions. So right now, my goal is to attend 5-6 aikido classes a week, plus Stairs on Wednesday, and I would like to lift twice a week. The complicating factor in this is I'm also taking public transit to get to work now, rather than my car. Which changes the dynamics of some things. Notably the "I need to have everything packed before I leave the house" part. Aikido is probably the easiest. I was given permission to park at the dojo during the day on Monday and Tuesday (not allowed usually), where I can then walk a mile to work, do what needs to be done, and then walk the mile back to the dojo to train. I then get to leave class with my car waiting for me, and not have to stress about trying to take make two buses to get home. Sunday and Tuesday are two classes, Monday and Saturday is one. The Saturday class I'm willing to skip, provided I'm doing something worthy in exchange. Mostly more workout things, sometimes social stuffs. Stairs just happens. It's ingrained at this point. If I can find a way to optimize my timetable getting to work this challenge, cool. At the moment, it's looking like I'll get to work at around 9:15 in the morning, which is practically on time for most scientists anyway. It's super late for me, but hey. Whatever. The lifting is the hardest for me to fit in right now. I have to take a different bus to my gym, work out quickly, shower, and then another bus closer to home. In nice weather, I could also walk home, but if I'm working out hard, that may not be something I want to deal with. Really I need to see how much I'm going to do the lifting, and how miserable I am trying to catch a bus that is different from my usual route. Also I need to figure out a new lifting program. Because I think I'll be lifting Wednesday and Friday, and I'll do an upper body workout on Wednesday and a lower body workout on Friday. Suggestions welcome. So yea. Figure out how to schedule all the things. 2) No Fish Fingers and Custard: Limit caloric intake to 2200 most days. A limit of 2500 on Stairs or lifting days. Limit snack foods taken from work. So, new job is going great so far. The building we are working out of has a lot of perks, including a LOT of free snacks. Most of the snacks are things I'm not sooo thrilled with, so I'm not too worried this time. The stuff I do like is also hidden in a giant cabinet, so one of my major problems (RP sees food. Suddenly food is gone because RP ate the food) is definitely curtailed. We do have some giant cereal containers, but even then most of the time I'm not thrilled with the choices. So the goal is to no eat like an asshole, do my best to pretend that the cereal things do not exist, and also limit my smartfood popcorn intake to only 3 bags a week, and we have string cheese that I want to limit to only 6 a week. Really, my vacation caused me to gain a few extra pounds, and I feel it on me. The difference I feel at 206 (where I current am) and 203/4 is amazingly large. I feel bloated, and I'm currently sitting at a point where previously I would be quite pleased. But I can do better and feel better at a weight around 200, even if my body loves the 206-208 range naturally. I want to see if I can train it to like the lower 200's more. 3) Universally Recognized Mature and Responsible Adult: Do the adulting list. Car oil change Car Inspection Figure out health insurance things (cheaper to buy own or get through the contract agency) Track all money using Mint to figure out how being an hourly worker influences me Input 4 book series into my library inventory Some other stuffs that I forgot? Just a general adulting list. Things to do. The car stuff should be easier since I don't need it ALL THE TIME any more. The health insurance I've already taken the first steps, I just need a bit more info. Mint I already use, but I need to try and pare down the extra purchases, or at least label them in Mint so that I know they are atypical. And I need to keep up with my library inventory. I was lazy about starting it. I'm sure I forgot some other things, so I am sure it'll get updated soon. But these things are the major goals over the next month. So lets get started, yea?
  22. Hello, my name is Sarah, and I will definitely not regret this challenge about two weeks in. Goal 1: Yoga Work diligently towards the following three targets, by doing yoga that challenges me, DAILY.1.) Put legs behind head2.) Hold Crow Pose for longer than it takes to fall haphazardly through Crow Pose3.) Move forward from Down Dog to a forward fold in one fluid movement, without taking my hands off the mat and without doing a Night of the Living Dead shuffle. I don't expect to achieve them this month, but that doesn't mean I won't give it a square go. +3 DEX, +1 STR Goal 2: Food and Drink - Consume no more than 1400kcal/day, through a combination of calorie counting and intermittent fasting. (My normal fasting method is 23hr fasts. I'll decide whether I'm having several weeny little meals throughout the day or just one meal in the evening at the start of each day, but I have to do one or the other.) - Record calorie intake daily. - Eat at least five portions of freggies within that calorie allowance. - 2 pints of plain water down the hatch every day. +4 CON Goal 3: PAIN Since a reward system doesn't seem to work, we're going to go for a punishment system this time. Ho. Ho. Ho. - Every day I don't update my thread, I put a £1 coin in the Idiot Jar, and reveal one embarrassing fact when I next update. - If I miss a goal more than three times in one week, I am only allowed to eat raw vegetables the following Monday. Photographic evidence is required. Not nice, delightful, refreshing vegetables like cucumbers and bell peppers, either. We're talking cruciferous vegetables here, my friends. And onions. - At the end of the challenge, the money in the Idiot Jar is taken to a British charity shop of your choice, selected from the following list of ones near me:- The Bethany Christian Trust - Providing practical help for homeless people across Scotland- The British Heart Foundation - Research into heart disease- Cancer Research UK - What it says on the tin.- Marie Curie Hospice - Support and palliative care for people with terminal illnesses throughout the UK- Capability Scotland - Help with education, employment and care services for disabled children and adults in Scotland. - I then spend the idiot money on the thing I find most hideous and useless in the whole shop, be it a weird fluorescent mesh bodysuit with Nameless Stains, an earthenware arse, a 5-video VHS boxset on How To Use Your Filofax, whatever. This will serve as a reminder that I am an idiot. The remaining idiot money will then go in the wee collection box on the counter. - If there is no money in the Idiot Jar, I can reward myself by spending up to £10 in the chosen shop on something I really fancy. +2 CHA, +2 STA Life Goal: Write a Play Produce a first draft of the play I need to write for the playwriting course I'm attending. Redraft until I'd be happy seeing it professionally directed and performed, because it will be, on the 22nd of April, no matter what. Pressure is good.Pressure is good. Then redraft it even more. +2 CHA, +1 WIS LET US NOW DO THIS THING.
  23. Snow drifted gently from the heather-gray skies above, settling a blanket of white stillness around the courtyard. The priory was quiet on this early winter morning, the cold keeping everyone in their beds long past the sun's late rise. Kyellan swept the stones clear of the snowfall, though he knew he would be doing the same a mere hour later. The elder brothers could not traverse slick walks, and there was no sense inviting injury when it could so easily be avoided. The world seemed impossibly quiet, with all the animals in hibernation and the birds flown to warmer climes. A gentle chirp startled him out of his near-meditative state. He looked up to see a small, red bird sitting atop the stone wall. He knew its kind well, but the crimson starlings flew south in the late autumn... and yet more, something seemed strange about this one. Its feathers seemed startlingly dark, almost the color of a drop of blood. The bird cocked its head at him, chirped again, and then exploded from the snow atop the wall in a spray of white, and was gone. The world returned to its softened silence. Kyellan shook his head. Perhaps the bird had merely been lost, or left behind by its fellows. A sad state, indeed, but he knew naught of the affairs of birds. With the stones at last cleared, Kyellan set aside his brush, shook his gray cloak and gloves clean of the snowfall, and returned to the eastern common hall. A cheery fire now burned in the hearth, spreading its welcome warmth throughout the stone walls. Kyellan gratefully shed his snowy cold-weather gear and took a chair beside the fire, rubbing his chilled hands. His right still ached faintly from that training accident two months ago, but every day the hurt grew fainter, and his grip stronger. "Good morning, Ky," said a voice, which warmed him almost as much as the fire itself. He turned and smiled at Athe, his blood-sworn sister. They had taken the oath of service to the Sentinels together, and though the ceremony had been the first time they met, a bond of friendship like Kyellan had never felt before had been forged between them through trial, hardship, and learning. "And good morning to you, lazybones," Kyellan grinned. "I see you've taken to rising with the bears, rather than the sun." She rolled her eyes and pulled up her own chair to the fire. Her auburn hair glistened in the flickering light from the hearth, and glared at him briefly from beneath her eyelashes. "You always take the best spot in the morning." "And if you'd get up earlier, you wouldn't have this problem." "If even the Knight Commander sleeps in on a morning like this, you can hardly blame me for doing the same. Don't worry; after the morning meal, I'll be in plenty of shape to beat you all around the training yard." Their shared laughter was interrupted by a throat-clearing from the doorway. Kyellan looked up to see the weathered face of Marcthelion Irontree, Knight Lieutenant, and the man in charge of their training. They immediately sobered, and rose to attention. "The Knight Commander summons all Sentinels and Companions to the Great Hall. Immediately. A message has arrived from the capital." Irontree's deep voice was grave. ---------------------------------------- Okay, so I gave this a fair amount of thought. I've decided that I've kind of played out the Star Wars theme over 2015, and despite the fact that I still go to lightsaber class every week, I think it's time to give the Jedi thing a rest. So, since I also make some kind of claim to being an author, I've decided to go with something original this time. We'll see how it goes. Like the running challenge I did last summer, I'm going to add a bit to this story with each update post I make throughout the month. This is all-new... I'm making this up as I go along, folks, so bear with me. You're seeing the writing process here--first draft, little editing, and no outline. Let's see what happens. Anyway, on with the challenge goals! This new 4-week thing is interesting, so we'll keep it light this first time out. Goal 1: Track calories every day. I've been making great progress on my weight loss since I picked MyFitnessPal back up a few months ago, and I'm starting this challenge somewhere between 210 and 215. (I'll get an exact number tomorrow.) That means I'm down somewhere between 20 and 25 lbs from where I was in the summer. Don't change a system that works--I'm actually getting toward fighting shape, and I want it! The holidays are over, and I'm once again in full control of my food. On the bright side, I only had a couple of tough days throughout the holiday season, so I actually kept making progress instead of being set back. Goal 2: Run 5k once a week. In preparation for the June Tough Mudder in Vermont (which I'll be running with Oramac, and anyone else who wants to join us! ) I've been running once a week with my buddy. He pushed me through a 5k training route back in mid-December, and since then we've also run a 4-mile loop and a different 5k trainer. It's been great! My first 5k time was 44:59, and last time it was 38:11, which I'm pretty happy about. Goal 3: Injury Recovery via Sword Training. I'm still working off the hand injury I got back in November, but it's getting better. I'm gently trying to work my grip back into shape via my lightsaber and my longsword. This is a careful and tricky process, but it's very important. Level Up Your Life: Track every expense for the month in YNAB, and reconcile it all at the end of the month. The wife and I have been working with YNAB through December to great success, and I want it to continue. We've already worked ourselves from being pretty far behind to being back on track, and I want 2016 to be a carefully managed year, money-wise. We've got our Germany trip coming up in September, and I want to figure out just what my salary can do when it's put to real priorities instead of disappearing into the ether. ------------------------------ That's what I've got. Looking forward to seeing everybody else's challenges as we roll into 2016!
  24. I'm a little late to this challenge, and it's a short one. So let's keep it simple! Main Goal: Track everything I eat for the final 3 weeks of the challenge. I've managed to lose about 10 pounds since the summer, and I really want to see that total loss continue to go up. Being aware of how much I'm eating is the first step towards making that happen, but one that I really struggle to stick with, especially if I miss tracking even a single meal. The truth is though, it isn't a very difficult thing to do. If I can fart around on the internet for an hour plus every day, I can find 10 minutes to track. Side Quest: Read the chapter in Jiu Jitsu University for white belts and pick two skills to work on this month. Bonus Quest: Eat vegetables at every meal for 10 or more days of the challenge. I'll check in every couple days to report on the tracking, share what bjj wisdom JJU has to offer, and talk about what plants I'm munching on. Good luck everyone!
  25. Here I am, again, even after stating the fact that I was not going to do any more Challenges, because you know I am crap at them. However 4 weeks, doable right! So here we are and going to take a shot at this and see if I can actually do eeeet! Fitness: 1) just keep lifting, following Madcow and I will be completing week 4 tonight! It is the furtherest I have gotten without stopping and starting again, so just keep lifting. 3xweek 2) walking/jogging, to help with fat loss and to kick my lack of any cardio fitness into gear! 3xweek Diet: 1) start using MFP or other app to track calories, eating healthy is great, but how much I eat, not so great, so going to keep a food journal and track everything entering the pie hole. 2) Bodytrim works and I need to get back onto it! LUYL: 1) put money away, to help with son5 tuition because he is going away to school and it is expensive, so I need to put at least $50 away each fortnight. 2) get into the garden and green those fingers! my little orchard needs love and attention as does the house garden. 3xweek and log it! 3) get the school room in order and prepare the work for the Lads to start school at the beginning of February. Anyway, let's see how we go.
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