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  1. My City of Ruins: A select few of you may remember me. I came, I did some challenges, I dropped some weight, and then life started life-ing me and I disappeared. In early 2015, I weighed 255 lbs. I joined a gym, started eating better, found NF, and in around 18 months, I'd just about scraped under 200 lbs, got myself a nice suit, and life was going... better. But interest started to flag, and a combination of work-related stress, family dramas, injuries, illness and dark depression took hold, and I went under the ice for a while. It started with some niggling aches and pains, which, after an extended period of doctor and hospital visits, were diagnosed as calcific tendonitis in the rotator cuff, and bone spurs in the neck. As I attempted to get those under control, my wife lost her mother, and my own mother's dementia gradually progressed. She suffered a series of falls and spent a large chunk of the early part of this year in and out of hospital for weeks at a time. We're getting some support with her care now, which is helping greatly, but the dementia is only going to worsen as time passes. With all of this in the background, I completely neglected my own well-being, quit exercising, ate like crap, didn't look after myself mentally, and spiraled into a dark place. I could feel my health worsening as my weight increased, to the point where everything was becoming uncomfortable, and I felt constantly sick, tired, and sore. At the end of July, I made the decision to rejoin the gym and go completely cold turkey from my arch nemeses, chocolate, cakes and fizzy/energy drinks. On my first visit back to the gym on August 1st, I weighed myself. 257 lbs. Back to square one, literally. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $100. The Rising: There have been two weigh-ins since I rose from the ashes. September was 248, October 244, meaning 13 lbs lost, against a backdrop of having my car smashed and written off, and picking up some bumps and bruises and a mild case of whiplash in the process. Gym attendance hasn't been quite as consistent as I would have liked, but forcing myself to go even inconsistently is better than where I've been. Other than a two-day spell where two of my kids had back-to-back birthdays, the food choices have been pretty solid. I managed the best part of ten weeks completely cold turkey, had a treat around the birthday bashes, and resumed progress afterwards. The goal is to get back to completely cutting off chocolate, cakes and fizzy drinks between now and Christmas, and then take it from there. Further On (Up the Road): And so, we beat on, boats against the current. There's no grand theme, no complex strategies, no delightfully colourful spreadsheets (this time, but they're itching to make a return), just some simple goals. Get to the gym, three times a week. This goal should now be a little more attainable for me, given that a couple of changes to my regular schedule are in the process of happening. As of Sunday, my church has switched to Saturday evening/Sunday morning services, which means not having to rush home on Sunday afternoon and do a quick turnaround to get back at it on Sunday evenings. Gym goal is to keep pushing the cross trainer level up, notch by notch. It's currently sitting at 20 mins at level 12/13. I'd like to get that up to level 15, and start working on building up a second run to end each session. During my first run on NF, I was starting and ending with 20 minute runs. I can get back there. Food goals, see above. My only restrictions are cutting out the chocolate, cakes and fizzy drinks. Other than that, I generally can be trusted to eat sensibly. Mental goals: stay positive, stay connected to my friends here, stick to my daily bible reading plan. The rest will take care of itself. What's coming up in this period? We're entering a busy new season in church again as we prepare for our annual giveaway, which of course means the return of the panto. SGFS regulars will know that I regularly get roped into performing in the shows, and this year will, I've been informed, be no different. Over the past couple of years, I've played (off the top of my head), a hyena sidekick in the Lion King, Augustus Gloop (Willy Wonka), the Tin Man (Wizard of Oz), Anger (Inside Out), Shere Khan (Jungle Book), Cogsworth (Beauty & the Beast), Mr. Potato Head (Toy Story), a couple of World War 2 soldiers, a Jersey Boy doo-wop singer, and a granny tranny in a Queen "I Want to Break Free" tribute. This year's panto has just been announced, and it's Shrek. No idea who I'm playing yet. Secretly, I'm hoping Fiona... Now, as a wise man once said, "Let's go to woik."
  2. Intro: At the end of January 2015, I weighed 255 lbs, hated myself, and constantly felt sick and tired. I started watching what I was eating, and then at the end of February took the plunge and joined a gym. I came across NF a week before the April 2015 6WC started. There are links to my introduction/origin story and my first nine challenges in my sig below. Feel free to go rummage around in there. I’ve made steady progress through the challenges over the last 12 months, with just the occasional setback. Over my first four challenges, I set a specific goal of getting properly fitted for a good quality, tailored, three-piece suit, and get a good photograph taken wearing it, because I was sick of being disgusted when I looked in the mirror or saw a photo of myself. Having achieved that goal, the focus is now on getting to a target weight of 180 and staying there. Sticking roughly with what I did last challenge, as it seemed to break the malaise a little. I’m still going a little lighter on the cross trainer, and lifting more weights. I’m also sticking with weekly pass/fails to determine my grades. The most important change this time around is the switch from the Adventurers guild to Rangers. I had a fun run over in the Shire, but there comes a time in every man’s life when being content to shave your toes and have second breakfast isn’t enough. It’s cold and grim North of the Wall (Hadrian’s, that is), so it’s time to Ranger up. Night gathers, and now my watch begins. Quest 1: The Fire that Burns Against the Cold 4,000 calories burned on the cross trainer at my gym. Achievable Points on offer: +3 STA A – 4000+ (Points x 1) B – 3500-4000 (Points x 0.75) C – 3000-3500 (Points x 0.5) D – 2500-3000 (Points x 0.25) F – < 2500 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 2: The Sword in the Darkness Three weight training sessions each week. Each complete week is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +4 STR A – 4 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 2 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 1 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 3: The Horn that Wakes the Sleepers Bodyweight squats each weekday morning. 1 set regular, 1 set Bulgarian split on each leg. Each complete week is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +4 DEX A – 4 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 2 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 1 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 4: The Light that Brings the Dawn Log food, and stay within my weekly calorie target of 11500 (8500 for short week 4). Each week under target is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +1 CON, +2 WIS A – 4 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 2 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 1 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 5: The Shield that Guards the Realms of Men Drink 20 litres of water per week (15 on week 4). Each week over target is a pass. Achievable Points on Offer: +1 CHA A – 4 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 2 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 1 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.)
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