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  1. Harriet of War 2023 This challenge I turn 36. It’s a good moment for a new start. I am not satisfied with the direction I’ve taken over the last year. Pacing has not improved my fatigue, and has in fact simply reduced my activity levels and coincided with multiple long slug phases. I’m sick of the fearful, avoidant, pessimistic attitude promoted by CFS patient advocacy groups and online forums. I choose to believe in recovery and the possibility of a normal life, and that is what I am going to pursue this year. As Mr Harriet has pointed out, though, my focus cannot be exclusively on health, in case it doesn't come. So I will do. my. art. And I will develop the life I want with or without recovery. Having recently played and loved God of War 2018, I am taking Kratos, the incredibly tough Spartan warrior from said game, as a model for the next year. Erm, not because he kills things, but because he has the physical and character strength that I so badly need. Sometimes we choose idols because of similarities between us, and sometimes we choose them because they have precisely what we lack. I loved playing as Kratos because it made me feel powerful and capable of anything. I want to be Kratos when I grow up. Of course, life is both easier and harder than a game. But I hope to borrow some of Kratos’s attitudes and virtues. For each challenge over the next year, I want to make sure I am hitting each of four categories that I think will be important: Strength: I will work on my physical fitness, carefully increasing both strength and cardio fitness. Someone has already made an exercise programme specifically for POTS, so I’ll do that and just slow down the progression if needed. There is no bonus for going too hard; the only thing that matters is getting fitter over time, and that requires staying below my maximum recoverable volume, which is unfortunately very, very low. Wishing and heroically overdoing things won't change that, but consistent, appropriate workouts might. Stoicism: Okay so stoicism isn’t Spartan, exactly. But I think it’s the closest available approach to developing strength of character. I wish to cultivate a stoic practical philosophy as an antidote to the fragility and suffering that arise from focusing too much on my illness. I will develop my tolerance for effort and unpleasantness, reduce my fear and avoidance, and choose happiness wherever possible. The good thing about developing this mindset is that it will serve me well even if I don't achieve the desired recovery. If my fatigue doesn't change, then I will change to deal with the fatigue. This doesn't mean denying myself rest, where rest would increase my functionality or reduce suffering. It means not waiting for perfect health or energy before I do my work, my life. Spirit: perhaps this category seems too soft for a god of war, but attitude is an important part of strength, and every warrior needs a way of healing between fights. The effect of the mind on the body has been extensively documented, and everyone who reports recovering from CFS included some mind-body stress reduction practice. So, I will cultivate a belief in healing and bring about the parasympathetic state of repair through twice daily meditation or prayer to my own god of war (not Kratos, obviously; he's a video game character, not an actual deity. If someone happened to take one of my deities and put him in a video game, that would be completely different, if somewhat weird) and similar practices, as often as possible. Structure: presumably Kratos got his discipline from being raised in a Spartan society. Happily, I don’t have that, so I will need to support my efforts with various habit-helping structures, which might include designing routines, setting alarms and reminders, employing family to hold me accountable, journalling, programming, reflecting on identities and processes, and setting up my environment to lower or raise barriers to action. Oh, and internet blocks to limit the infinite doom scroll.
  2. I disappeared last challenge. Sorry about that. Things got worse in multiple ways, and I shut down. I became a hermit. I had no good news to post, so I disappeared. I hate being all bad news, depressing and no upside, and I hate when I bring other people down with me. So I disappeared. I tried to take time to regroup and get better. Didn’t quite work much since work is still a mess after the whole “Let toxic guy quit suddenly and without turnover and nothing works.” OT is a thing for much of this challenge and let’s hope they actually hire someone to help me now and not in August (Note, I am thinking at earliest, August). They just posted the job, so I might have full time official help in August. Mom is still an issue as she is still not talking but now mad that I didn’t come over to see brother when he was in town for a few hours when my notice was literally 12 hours before he was coming and I was working OT when he got here. No one was even sure what DAY he would be there. In other news, the washer and dryer died Sat night, and the stove is acting up. New washer and dryer ordered, but now I need to clean to get them from outside the house to where they go. It may not be too bad, but it means I can’t come home after OT every night this week and do nothing. I will say part of my return is due to @fleaball. We had been emailing, and we agreed to both come back and try to do at least something. I know I need the accountability and the friendship and the reminder that I am not as horrible as I think. One wonderful thing I have found here, a friend that is going to make me do stuff, and I am going to remind her to do stuff. My walking is fairly good, but that is mostly because 6 Mo puppy Agent Ninja needs it to be less crazy. I am not really cleaning or organizing and I can tell I miss the stretches and exercises. I need to get things straight in my own head so I can sleep. The end. Main point of this challenge is DO SOMETHING.. ANYTHING… besides just exist. I cut the number of boxes/pts whatever down to 26. 2 exercises (out of 17), 3 stretches (out of 24), 10 life and family (mostly done just by living) (out of 36), 3 Fight Chaos by cleaning (out of 16), 2 fight Chaos by organizing (out of 16), 2 for walking (out of 8) and 4 for food (out of 17). So do the thing. That’s the plan
  3. So I have been doing the challenge work for over a week. I started last Saturday. But I couldn’t bring myself to write the post for it. Then Friday through Monday this week I stopped because, well life is hard and I am tired, out of spoons. Just couldn’t. Last challenge took a ton out of me. I am TIRED. I had some major stress happen last challenge and well, I am not okay. Short version is work got TOXIC and Hostile. HR is involved, and while I should not have anything coming back on me as far as discipline, it has made going to work the hardest thing ever for like 3 months. Plus it is all anyone talks about now. And they want to know what happened, and they want to know if I am okay. I will admit, for the 3rd time in my life, I let someone abuse me. I fell for it. I should of known better. I have been trying to heal for over a month. I know this won’t “go away instantly” but I want to be better. Meanwhile, because the source of the issues from work is not currently working, all their work comes to me. I can’t see what they had going, or where things I need are, but I have been told “I am now the lead on coding.” I am 2 years out of college and the only programmer. Guy that isn’t there, is not organized and we have a ton of deadlines that are not miss able in JULY. Boss is at least being cool, but until I see what is going on, I will not not be anxious about this. Yes, it is a different level of stress, and a smaller one, but its still weighing on me. The Mom issue is still well, an issue. Her Texts are getting more passive aggressive. I took her a plant and a card on Moms day, more out of routine, but I didn’t visit or talk. Bio Brother asked 9 days ago if anything had been resolved with Mom, and when I responded he never even sent a 2nd text. I can deal with her, but Hubby’s family asked about her today, and I got all weird and defensive. Hubby said he was sorry about that, and he told them not to, but they don’t listen. I am tired. I have not been sleeping. Turns out I can take 1 mg Melatonin and sleep for 11+ hours, but I can’t do that on work nights. My nightmares are back, I had an anxiety moment at work that I upset boss (I went and talked to him, I didn’t, but I explained I just wasn’t sure and wanted to make sure the air was clear) but I have no confidence. I have no strength left. I am just tired and I need to heal. I need to heal from the trauma at work. It was trauma. I am still asking people to walk to me to my car. I am still walking around making sure he isn’t there. I need to heal from the Trauma of my mom ,and not let someone asking “So how is she doing” upset me so bad. I need to heal from the point before things started to get better where the dark of Depression had no light. I need to heal from being so mad at myself for never stopping any of this. I need to heal from spraining my big toe chasing Agent Ninja when she got out. So that’s what I am trying to do. Yes, I am doing my boxes and trying to do points and I am walking so much (to process and deal with anxiety), but I would love to say “Hey, this is the road to heal real fast” but that road doesn’t really exist. So I am fumbling through healing. I am hoping to be here more, I am hoping I can do boxes to prove I can do things right and that I am not lazy, stupid, old, worthless, ect. But right now, I just want each day to even slightly better than the day before. Really, I just want to be okay. Please don't expect fun gifs or stories here. I don't know what this will look like, but please be kind and supportive. That is what I am hoping for here.
  4. I heaved a sigh and glared at the thick, foul mixture eating through the bottom of my cauldron, aware that the other students were noisily packing up but mostly ignoring them. I was so sure I had followed the directions for Snot Sealing Potion exactly, but whatever mess had burbled up in my cauldron looked more like snot than the clear, refreshing lilac in the book. "Perhaps if you had paid attention to your homework, Elvenword," Professor Snape said languidly behind my head, making me jump and start cramming my books into my bag. "Yes sir, Professor," I stammered, and hissed "Scourgify!" as I hastily waved my wand over the vile mess. I'd have to review the instructions later and take better notes - exams were coming up and I felt hopeless in this class. Come to think of it, I felt a little hopeless in most of my classes, even though my marks were solidly average. Unlike most of the students who had arrived at Hogwarts as 11-year-old First Years, I had transferred in later. My parents were Muggles, and I hadn't even realized I could do magic until I was 15, much older than the average new student. So in addition to the history and literature classes that were appropriate for my Muggle grade level, I also took some classes with much younger students, like first-year Potions. As I scuttled out of Professor Snape's dungeon and headed back upstairs, I was startled by a faint, ghostly feminine whisper coming from somewhere behind the paneled wall: "Sky Elvenword ... Sky, do you hear me?" I froze in my tracks and the students behind me nearly slammed into me. "Watch where you're going," they snapped, and I melted against the wall to get out of the way, my skin prickling. "Peeves?" I whispered back, "is that you?" "No, Sky, listen to me. I need your help!" Other classes were letting out and it was getting too loud to hear. I pressed closer to the wall, uncertain whether I was being tricked or about to fall for a dreadful practical joke. "Who are you?" I said louder. "I can't tell you that now. After dinner, go to the northernmost corner of the Great Hall and use your wand to tap three times on the panel at your eye level. When you do that, a key will appear in your left hand. Use that key to unlock -" At that moment, someone crashed into my bookbag, knocking me off balance and sending two of my books flying off the staircase. I yelped and dashed down the stairs to retrieve them before the crowd of incoming Second Years trampled them; and by the time I had scrambled back to the panel where the voice had spoken from, it was silent. I gingerly tapped the wall. "Hello?" I squeaked. "Are you still there? What am I supposed to unlock?" But there was no answer, and the other students passing me were giving me strange looks. Reluctantly I tore myself away and hurried to get to my next class, but my heart was pounding. Who was the mysterious voice? Were they a good or bad witch? Why did they need my help, and what was I supposed to unlock with the mysterious key?
  5. And I am back. Life has been a whirlwind but when is it not? So much change. So much growth. I went to Japan, loved it, fell in love, had a blast and came back to the reality of my routine but haven't quite picked up my good habits back yet. This is why I'm creating this battle log. The fight within myself to heal is not over and I am back in the arena. So let's start today, shall we? ♡ WEEK 1 OF THE CLEANSE: ♡ X One Coffee a Day [ ] X Processed Carbs Once a Day [ ] X Fried Foods Once a Week [ ] X Meditation Daily [ ] X Yoga or Lifting [ ] ♡ WEEK 2 OF THE CLEANSE: ♡ X Only Tea [ ] X Processed Carbs Once a Week [ ] X No Fried Foods [ ] X Meditation Daily [ ] X Yoga or Lifting [ ] ♡ WEEK 3 OF THE CLEANSE: ♡ X No Caffeine [ ] X Processed Carbs Once a Week [ ] X No Fried Foods [ ] X Meditation Daily [ ] X Yoga or Lifting [ ] ♡ WEEK 4 OF THE CLEANSE: ♡ X No Caffeine [ ] X Raw 'Til 4? [ ] X No Fried Foods [ ] X Meditation Daily [ ] x Yoga or Lifting [ ]
  6. Okay, a big part of the reason I've not been around for a couple of challenges is because it's been filling me with quite a bit of stress and anxiety to explain everything that is going on with me right now. Things have progressed to a point that is no longer the case but quite a lot has happened so I'm going to just dump it all out there. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Physical Ups and downs happening in the physical department. I've gotten really frickin strong! My bench press has gone over 200lbs (92kg) and my deadlift PR currently sits at 190kg (approx 419lbs). Kind of really happy. On the other hand my running has suffered quite a bit because of what this challenge is going to focus on: injury. I'm currently injured. I've been feeling a pain in my left calf. Pretty low level whilst running but when I stop running it really really hurts. So I've been taking a lot of rest recently in order to try and get rid of that happening for the two big races of the spring season (which happened over the last 2 weeks). In a quirk of fate during RRDW, a race that was an easy 13 mile ocr that I was running with @iatetheyeti, @Rhovaniel, @Charlie_Quinn and @Jarric. I was taking it very easy and just enjoying myself. I took a bad step while going up a mound and felt the calf in my right leg (the one that hadn't been hurting) snap. I went down got back up and found that I could no longer walk without excruciating pain. Sincerely not the kind of pain that I could have carried on with. So that was my first DNF. My sincerest thanks to Yeti, Rho and CQ for getting help and getting me out safely , Yeti and Rho for coddling me in camp that night (and going to get me waffles!) and to @Jarric for the lift home. Despite this and being unable to walk for 2 days it healed miraculously fast and I ended up running a race a week later. I didn't think I would be running that race at all and I was able to do it relatively pain free. Nonetheless I also managed to sprain my ankle in the last few miles and there is that going on as well. So no running this challenge at all. I will probably start using the bike at the gym at some point. Goal 1: Do rehab exercises every day. Mental To anyone following my challenges recently it'll come as no surprise for me to say that my mental health went downhill very fast. I hit rock bottom about 2 weeks ago and was forced by a concerned Ranger to go and see my doctor. So I was signed off of work for a little while and given medication. The anxiety medication has had the side effect of fixing my sleep issues. I'm feeling better than I was now. Far from good but better. Goal 2: Talk. Update here every day even if I don't have much to say. Nutrition This has taken a nosedive as well. Right now I don't have much energy to expend to this topic so I'll keep it simple: Goal 3: Eat one healthy meal a day.
  7. 2019 was to be a year of crushing all the things. Unfortunately, I need to heal up my ribs before I can do more. So, this challenge is going to be about trying to keep exercising whilst not overdoing it so I can heal. Additionally, I will need to play closer attention to diet and stress relief as I won't have my usual crutch as it were of HIIT and running for a while. Bah! Tis no fun! So, here's the plan for the first challenge of 2019: Walk on a regular basis. Without the running and HIIT, I need some amount of exercise. The dog will be my friend with these. At least 5 walks per week. Determine what exercise I can do with this rib injury and do it. At least 3 times a week. Control the carbs. Not as much margin for error while everything heals. I really need to be strict about keeping my net carbs under 70g per day. Silent time. I did pretty good with this the last challenge. I need to keep it up. 10 minutes a day all to myself for prayer, reflection, meditation, etc. Secret goal. I'm going to work on a project I've been thinking of for a while. It's time to do it. I will hopefully have it ready for unveiling by the end of the challenge. There you have it. That's how I'm starting out 2019. Getting healthier and setting up for a winning year.
  8. Yesterday, I had surgery to repair my torn PCL in my right knee. I want to document my recovery journey here since the NF community is so supportive, and I'm excited to get moving toward a better, faster, stronger leg! Going in to the procedure - I was told that aside from a total knee replacement, PCL surgeries are the most painful that you can have. The procedure was arthroscopic, so my knee wasn't opened up - just a couple incisions for the cameras and tools. They did drill a hole through my tibia to be able to insert the ligament graft. Everything went well - the whole procedure lasted about 2-2.5 hours, and then I was in the recovery room for another two. The procedure is outpatient, so I was able to go home yesterday afternoon! I've been pleasantly surprised at how little pain I'm in. The pain I do have is easily assisted by the medication given by the doctor. My leg is probably doubled in size - the repaired knee has surgical dressings, an ace bandage wrap, compression stocking, cold therapy sleeve, then a giant locking brace to keep my leg locked in an extension. All those together have made finding clothes that will accommodate the size quite difficult. The next two weeks are about rest, ice, and more rest. I go back to see the doctor in two weeks, and after that, physical therapy will begin. We can remove the surgical dressing tomorrow, and I'm allowed to shower on Friday (without getting the wounds wet). I'll be in physical therapy 2-3 times/week for the next 6-7 months. There's a long road ahead, but it will be so good to finally have a knee that is stable and works! More fun post-surgery updates to come.
  9. It's been a full year since I uprooted my cozy little life in Iowa and moved to Oklahoma. While it's been full of new and exciting things as well as some unexpected difficulties the one thing I really regret about the move is how much I've struggled to stay fit--especially in the last few months of battling pain I've lost a great deal of strength and gained a good bit of scale weight. Today I'm getting back in the game (again) and turning the momentum around. The last challenge started strong but fizzled early, so I'm determined to start "next year" a month early. To that end, I'm going to finish off 2016 with a full December challenge: 31 days of mindful fitness working toward my usual cadre of specific goals. There are plenty of obstacles--in addition to the Christmas holiday there are two family birthdays within a week of each other--and I'm still not certain of my current capabilities, but I'm going to do whatever I can to keep from having to buy larger clothes. Goals: 1. Workout - 3 times per week for 60 minutes per session; focus on core strength, flexibility, and mobility; incorporate the at-home portion of my previous OT/PT that has been completed. Generally work up a sweat and stoke the metabolism. 2. Eat - 1800 calories per day. Macros don't matter, but as always the plan will be to stick to Primal-ish foodstuffs. 3. Drink - Water. No liquid calories. No excessive caffeine. One can of Diet Dr Pepper is permitted before noon each day. 4. Sleep - Get back to a regular bedtime schedule. Time to make the donuts...
  10. I've gone through a lot of aliases here on NerdFitness; roseofmay, kelliestrasza, etc. I've gone through a few challenges as well. Some have been very successful while others have not. I've been taking the time to look back on the successful ones. These were challenges where I was logging into the boards at least once a day, keeping track of what I was eating/doing, and sharing when I felt like I was beginning to falter. The ones that were not as successful were ones where I neglected myself. I wasn't sharing the times when I felt like I was failing, or having a less than stellar day. These small, simple things played huge parts when I fell, and they still do. Over the past few months, I have gained a lot of weight. I am not in a good place mentally or physically. My emotional stability is practically non-existent even with medication. I am literally a mess. My ambition and motivation are at an all-time low. There was a point, last month, where I was excited to get back into doing art. Earlier this week was the first time I picked up my art stuff. The two sketches I did were dark, dreary, and reflected how I was feeling, but it was scary. It scared my Mom when I showed her, and even looking back at them now, I'm terrified to know that there are times when I fell that low. At that point, I knew I needed to find a grounding place and come back from that dark place. I'm calling this my Sweet Simplicity challenge. After talking with my dear friend @shaar, she suggested that I go simple. Don't put too much on myself. Don't feel like I did to have long and lengthy physical challenges, or eating routines. Stay simple because those are the things that, in turn, make the biggest impact. 1. Check in once a day with Nerd Fitness. Fairly straightforward. Log in, update my challenge, and peek around to see what some other NF members are up to. Don't overwhelm myself, but don't refrain from engaging if you can be helpful or encouraging. 2. Do something for me. People tell me this all the time. Whether it's painting my nails, reading a chapter or two of a book, sitting quietly with some tea; whatever it is make sure it's for me. No one else. I never feel as though I don't matter when it comes to where I live and who I live with. But having just those few minutes of knowing I am dedicating it to just me, I believe, will do wonders. 3. Yoga anyone? I really miss doing this. When I was doing yoga almost every day, I felt good mentally and physically. I could find a peace of mind and everything seemed to weight a bit less on my shoulders. This week, to prepare for the beginning of the challenge, I am going to finish making up my space again. I have been working hard to clear a lot of clutter and feel a bit more organized. Organized mess you could call it. Getting back into doing this routinely will help tremendously. I'm not adding a bonus quest as I want to keep this, well, simple. Namaste ☯
  11. Terinatum steps forward into the present and onward to small future moments. Goal #1 : drink water - ultimate goal is drink up to 9 cups per day The present day goal is to keep ahead of my Dr Pepper intake. I want to drink 20 oz of water for every 8 oz of soda. My goal is to drink no more than 2 - 8 oz cans of Dr Pepper each day. I will list my daily intakes of both here at least three times per week. Grade: A=80% of goal reached (on average per week) STAT bonus = +2 CON Goal #2 : Relaxation - stress reduction "Gots ta chill, babygirl." I can do this for at least 15 mins per day. It can be: a walk in the park, literally not figuratively; Listen to music and meditate or chair dance; free write about anything; or work on house design. Grade: A=5/7 days on average (per week) STAT bonus = +2 CHR Goal #3: Healing the Body - my body gets priority This is going to build up each week. Week One: evening prayer for healing during sleep. Let my brain know that it needs to work on clearing out my body. So Brain, please do not throw a bunch of swirling words and images at me while I try to nod off. I will comment on whether I prayed and how I felt in the morning. Week Two will incorporate a morning prayer for efficient use of food for the day. Let my brain know that my body can talk and tell me what it wants. Listen and Act. Week Three will add an afternoon quiet sit to reflect on the day so far and see where energy needs to be cleared out or added in. Week Four will be me starting up my Tai Chi Yang style long form again. As long as I do some, I don't care how long or how much I re-learn. Starting the habit is all this is about. Grade: A=5/7 days on avg (per week) STAT bonus = +2 STA Goal #4 Go to Community Fitness - work the program I have started this and it's going fairly well. I will comment on: my activities; emotional well-being; keeping the focus on me and not become an unneeded leader; and how well I'm doing with my homework between classes. Grade: A=??? STAT bonus = +2 STR Okay, that's how it stands atm. We shall see where the day takes us.
  12. Hopefully this won't be the longest intro ever long story short 5 kids, a couple of difficult pregnancies and pretty bad OCD threw me in a downward spiral. Been working out consistently for 8 weeks now and taking care of myself. I feel so much better and my energy is way up. This is my battle log to remind myself of how far I have come! That wasn't too long at all. Posting day one below.
  13. 1. Decluttering My MIT (Most Important Thing) at present is to create space so that I have time and energy to spend on the things that matter most to me. So this month I aim to: a - advance the decluttering in the spare bedroom, b - organise all my cupboards downstairs, this includes: food cupboards (kitchen), under-sink cupboard (kitchen), non-food storage cupboards (kitchen), bathroom cupboards, bathroom-stuff drawers (lounge), understairs cupboard c - organise all my paperwork: file away required paperwork, remove unnecessary paperwork d - get my email & information inflows under control (began unsubscribing from email things last week, will also want to trim down my bloglovin' feed too) 2. Heal Hands I'm probably washing my hands over 50 times a day, and they're in a bad state at the moment as well as looking 20 years older than the rest of me (sob). To counter-act this I want to: a - moisturise before bed every night b - track every time I wash my hands & the reason(s) why c - evaluate whether I can eliminate this reason for handwashing or find an alternative solution (e.g. gloves, using handwipes instead) 3. Heal Body For years I've known I should be taking my "brown inhaler" and never have done, as my asthma has been relatively minimal. However, since baby has started at nursery, things have been going downhill. Last week I ended up at a walk-in doctor's surgery barely able to breathe and wracked in muscular pain around my ribs due to the constant coughing/sneezing. A high dose of steroid tablets immediately relieved the problem and now I am wondering why I didn't start taking my inhaler months ago. Anyhoo, time is good now. a - take brown inhaler twice a day Baby and I also need to up our vitamin doses to fight off these constant infections. Pre-prep: order some vitamin drops I can mix into baby's breakfast cereal b - give baby daily vitamin drops at breakfast c - take daily vitamin tablet at breakfast (after taking 8 steroid tablets a day at breakfast for 5 days, I feel I can now manage the 1 vitamin tablet required) 4. May Mini Habit Last month I set out a mini-habit challenge to take my yoga mat out of the wardrobe every evening and put it on the floor. Evidently I set the bar too high as I did not do this once. So now I am making it even easier to do: a - open wardrobe door fully and touch yoga mat 5. Overall Wellbeing I need to build in "rest/recharge time" into my weekly routine, as it's foolish to continue to attempt to plough on at any cost trying to get stuff done every night without a break. I've been doing that now for 5 months and my health has really suffered for it. a - Figure out how & when to best rest b - Think of fun activities to do while baby sleeps upstairs I also need to make sure I'm eating as well as I can. To this end, my short-term plan is: c - Buy ready-made healthy foods and fruit snacks d - Don't buy any more crisps e - Don't buy any more chocolate That's a lot of stuff, but if I do even 40% of this I'm sure I'll be feeling a heck of a lot better! Here's to a healthy May
  14. Hiya… I’m a little late, but since I have a new goal it’s time for another challenge :). For those who don’t know me, I’m a grad student and powerlifter. I haven’t been around the past few challenges since I’ve been struggling with some chronic health issues that flared up in September. For the most part I’ve maintained my NF-inspired habits, but there are a few things I want to focus on for the next 22 days. Goal 1: 10,000+ steps, as measured by my Fitbit, each day. This is the new goal and, as evidenced by my title, the focus for this challenge. I’m holding on to a bunch of extra weight because of all of the endocrine issues, and I need to find a way to shift it without having my body flip out because I’m asking too much of it or cutting calories too low. So… lots of walking. To give an idea of where I am now, since my work is pretty sedentary and I bike more than walk, I’ve been averaging ~5,000 steps/day before this. Grading: A = 21+ days, B = 19-20 days, C = 17-18 days Goal 2: Take all the supplements, and take them at the right time (I’m pretty good about this, but sometimes miss my afternoon/dinner supplements). Grading: A = <=3 misses, B = <= 6 misses, C = <= 9 misses Goal 3: Have regular Epsom salt baths (~3x/week). Grading: A = 9+ baths, B = 7-8 baths, C = 5-6 baths LUYL Goal: Meditate every day. I’ve mostly been using the Stop, Breathe, Think app to track this. Grading: A = 21+ days, B = 19-20 days, C = 17-18 days Otherwise, I’m still making lift, eat, and sleep my priorities. On the food front, I’m still following the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, but with a more moderate carb intake (mostly from sweet potatoes, plus a little fruit). Lifting is finally feeling good again, and I’ve gotten into a good routine with a variation of Wendler’s 5/3/1 that has me lifting 4x/week. Progress has been super slow the last several months, but I’ve taken this as an opportunity to work on my form and weaknesses (good-bye rounded back deadlifts!). At the end of my last cycle, my heavy singles were 245 lbs (squat), 135 lbs (bench), 310 lbs (deadlift), and 95 lbs (OHP).
  15. I'm going to continue to post my workouts in my BATTLE LOG but might x-post here. I might also post gymnastics fun here, because who doesn’t want to learn about cool shit that I’m doing in gymnastics. 1) HEAL / Do less I have an owie somewhere in the general region of my left hip flexor. It’s been bothering me, I have some stretches and things to do. My friend is massage therapist who is going to try to help me diagnose it. If not, I’m going to see a doctor. To prevent other injuries from happening and to help this one heal, I’m going to · Do my prescribed stretches/therapy 5x/week. · Foam roll 5x/week · Rest if I need to · Heat/ice if I need to This is conveniently timed (I guess?) with my program. As my workout starting tomorrow eliminates all assistance work and is solely big 3! (As I’m running up a peaking program, aka do less) 2) GET BIG This again a rollover goal from last challenge, modified slightly. I've started taking creatine, it’s pretty much habit now. But I’m having issues with it, mainly digestion and headaches. This leads me to believe I’m not drinking as much water as I should be. I’ve ordered a half gallon water bottle that should arrive at some point soon. The goal is to drink at MINIMUM the half gallon of straight up water a day, in addition to any teas, coffees, diet sodas, etc I have throughout the day. Take creatine daily. At least half a scoop, more if I can tolerate it. Drink half gallon of water daily to ensure maximum swoleness. 3) GET FAT My nutrition is still all over the place. If you’ve been following me, you know that this is a thing I've been struggling with. My challenge is finding BALANCE between tracking compulsively, yet still eating enough to fuel my body and my workouts. If I don't track, I don't eat enough or eat in proper ratios. Especially fat, I am ALWAYS low on fat, it's just so much easier to eat proteins and carbs! I also binge eat, so my calories will vary from 1400- 3100 over the course of a week; which is unhealthy, inconsistent and unsustainable! Last challenge the goal was to focus on the weekend, and I didn’t find any real improvement by focusing on that. This challenge the focus will be meal prep and trying to get back to a carb cycling type of diet. Meal prep: Ensure I always have protein sources prepped and available for lunches and dinners (aka meat). 1-2x/week prepping should be sufficient. Do that carb cycling thing again: Track my macros. Aim for P/F/C = >135/~70/[<100/~180/~250] based on that day’s activity level (rest=low, gymnastics or cardio=medium, lifting=high). Doesn’t have to be perfect, just try. The part I will score is on the low carb days: all carbs should be coming from fruits, veggies, beans, etc aka all NATURAL sources. No breads, cookies, ice cream, pop tarts, cereal or other junk on low days! I’m still going to allow them on medium and high days, as I suck at going cold turkey and think that I still need some leeway there. Life Goals for this year will be COMPOUNDING as appropriate. The idea is to produce HABITS! 1) Don't be a hoodrat (challenge 1) Look fabulous. Take selfies. Post here for everyone's pleasure. 2) Don't get too fat (challenge 2) Crushed this goal last time at 1x/week so I’m going to up it! Walk or bike to work. 2x/week minimum. Note: This goal is highly dependant on the progress of my hip. If I am having hip issues, I will nix it. 3) Read (challenge 3) Last challenge I did really well with reading more. I didn’t finish the books like I intended to, but I read more than I was. This is good. Continue reading at least 3x/week. 4) Don’t be a hermit (challenge 4) Weekends I have a terrible habit of laying on the couch watching Netflix and doing housework all weekend. It’s rare if I see sunshine. I need to do SOMETHING that involves leaving my apartment on non-work days. Go to the store, go on a date with Mr. J, go to the gym, nerd meetup for tea, or just go for a walk or bike ride. Just something so I don’t fall into that deep red glow of Netflix that is so comforting. Leave my apartment on non-work days. Other things I’d like to accomplish, but aren’t necessarily goals Finish my cosplay by this weekend Buy presents for my cousins for next weekend. Sell things that need to go Set the April budget (sooner than later)
  16. Brutal Bears Needs Some Shaman Healing Introduction: For some reason every time I get hurt a Warcraft challenge seems to be the cure, and man I am hurt this time. I am not one to complain, which is part of the problem-I tend to get hurt ignore push harder, and then get burnt. I am going to pay attention to by body this challenge and get myself back to fighting condition. Currently I am in a pickle with a few issues, first I am hurt, all over. I messed up my balls, yes my balls, lifting and they are in pain, I pulled a tendon in my right wrist/fore arm...lifting, hurt my back, and my leg is giving me some hell.... Also, I am working around 70-80 hours a week and I am a full time college student. Time for a deep breath and some shaman healing. On the bright side I am almost to Mordor. Quests: Earth Totem (First I need to rework my routine to something less damaging and more sustainable) -Lift 3 times a week Week 1: 2 Week 2: 2 Week 3: 0 Fire Totem -Meal Plan each week -All Homework Done each week Weeks Completed: 4 Water Totem -Yoga Twice a week Week 1: 2 Week 2: 1 Week 3: 0 -Meditate 3 times a week Week 1: 3 Week 2: 1 Week 3: 1 Air Totem -Jog 3 times a week Week 1: 2 Week 2: 2 Week 3: 0 Week 4: 4 -Walk/run a total of 30 miles each week Week 1: 31.8 Week 2: 25.7 Week 3: 33 Week 4: 33.6 Starting Pic/Weight Coming Soon:
  17. Surakha

    Noor: Reground

    Hello Druids! My name is Noor and I am a halfling assassin who was cursed into the form of a stone giant by fae magic. If you take a look at past challenges, there are many bits and pieces of story there cataloging my quest to regain control of my body and mind from this curse, which is a metaphor for mental illness, hormonal imbalance, and the stresses and struggles of being a fat pansexual genderqueer professional in modern America. I come to the druids because I am seeking balance and centering after months of rapid change and high stress. I am in the process of completing my doctorate in psychology and my internship year is the first time I have been working full time since I left the workforce 5 years ago. I am also commuting over an hour each way, so taking care of my body and finding work-life balance has to be a huge priority. so yeah, that's me, doing my best to live a values-driven life in a mad and mixed up hectic world. ​ Goal 1: Yoga and Stretching. My body has become stiff, calcified by the necessary evils of a commuter's life. I have worked and worked over my time at NF to build exercise into my routine and pretty much every challenge I have gotten hurt, or aggravated my back. Instead, I am holding off until I can get in to see a physical therapist and build a routine under supervision. Instead, I am going ot focus on flexibility and core strength through low or no impact exercises and regular stretching. My goal is to do 15 minutes of core strength work 3 days/week, and at least 10 minutes of yoga every day. CORE (+3 STR) 15 or more days; (+2STR) 12 or more days; (+1 STR) 6 or more days YOGA (+3 DEX) 35 or more days; (+2DEX) 28 or more days; (+1DEX) 14 or more days Goal 2: Diet and Nutrition. I want to lose weight. I am tired of carrying this burden and I want to have a long healthy life. I can't really articulate my long and complicated relationship with food here, but it suffices to say I have an eating disorder that I have fought with since college and one of the best ways for me to manage food is to focus on eating appropriate quantities of healthy food that I enjoy. In my case that means generally a higher protein PaleoPrimal plan. IN order to make sure I am consistently eating the right amounts of food and staying in balance there, I will track food daily. TRACKING (+3 CON) 35 or more days; (+2 CON) 28 or more days; (+1CON) 14 or more days Goal 3: Sleep. My sleep cycle is getting dysregulated and I am not prioritizing my wellbeing over video games, media and social time. I have a long commute to work every day and I have to be up at 5am. That means bedtime is at 10 PM. That's lights out, in bed dozing off at 10pm. I get a break on weekends, no curfew on gaming nights, and shoot for midnight on the non-gaming day BED ON TIME (+3 STA) 27 or more days; (+2 STA) 20 or more days; (+1STA) 10 or more days Goal 4: Writing. I am completing NaNoWriMo this month. I have been struggling to prioritize creative things and to give myself more outlets in my life to be imaginative as I find that to be very renewing and important for my self care. I have always wanted to be a writer since I was little and have written tons of short stories, poems nad even longer pieces but never managed to complete a novel. Hopefully this will push me to do so. I am making a goal to write for at least 15 minutes a day. NaNoWriMo (+3 WIS) 35 or more days; (+2 WIS) 28 or more days; (+1WIS) 14 or more days
  18. For this challenge I'm going to take on something that I find very difficult: Being gentle but disciplined, rather than swinging madly between extremes of bravada and exhaustion. I have a nasty tendency to push too hard, particularly physically, then go *splat* for a few days and feel guilty for not doing anything. It's obviously not the best way to do things, so I'm going to try something different. Main quest: Get into the habit of doing simple, low-stress and knees-safe fitness with yoga, Pilates, isometric exercise and whatever else is appropriate, with particular emphasis on building strength in the thigh muscles. The goal is to stabilize the knees and reduce pain rather than increasing it, by using slow, conscious and careful movement. (++STR, +CON, +STA) Subquest #1: Weight reduction. I'm aiming for the lower half of the 170s this time, and I also want to add more fiber to my diet, reduce the amount of diet soda I drink, and cut back somewhat on meat. I also want to be more selective in terms of restaurant food, going for independents rather than national chains. (+CON, +CHR) Subquest #2: Offload as much stress as I can by doing one small thing every day to clear up old projects. To this end I'm going to make up a master to-do list of Things That Bug Me and cross things off one by one. I'm also going to get back into regular meditation, and wind back my bedtime bit by bit to improve my sleep habits. (+WIS, +CON) Life Quest: Memorize "Linus and Lucy" by Vince Guaraldi. I love, love, love this piano piece, and with the holidays (and A Charlie Brown Christmas) coming up fast, I want to finish learning the improv solo in the middle and polish the rest of it so that I can sit down at a piano anywhere, anytime and just play it from memory. (+WIS, ++DEX, +CHR) Now, about that to-do list... (wanders off to find a sheet of paper)
  19. Brutal Bears Needs Some Druid Healing Introduction Quest log: Feral Form -Average 20 miles walked a week-let's get one step closer to Mordor! Week 1: 32.2 miles Week 2: 41.3 miles Week 3: 28.9 miles Week 4: 21.9 miles Week 5: 24.2 miles Week 6: 25.5 miles Restoration -Do at least two 30 minute yoga sessions a week Total Done: 3 -Meditate at least 3 times a week Total done: 10 Moonkin -Get all my school work done each week Weeks Complete: 6 -Finish at least one book Breaking the Worgen Curse -It's time to quit smoking. I am using my e-cig to try and drop down systematically drop in nicotine (30/30 days) -Attend at least one AA meeting a week Meeting attended: 3 Tank Bear The Bear Returns! 4 Strength workouts a week. I had been struggling a lot with my schedule, and weeks being consistent with working out, so I'm going to try working out 4 days in a row-since they are the only 4 I can commit to, my plan will go as follows Upper Body Workouts done: 11 Lower Body Workouts done: 9 The Cenarion Circle Keep up with the NF community, and post to at least two other peoples challenges a day Druid Lore -I've always wanted to write a book, and I have started and failed several times. So, -Participate in NanoWrimo and let's write a book this MONTH! (50,000 words!) (23,503/50,000) 47%47%
  20. It's challenge time, and that means you all get to hear about my grass hut dream again. I hope you missed me. Now before you go thinking, “what?†allow me to explain. My boyfriend (that happened) has an uncle whose life quest was to marry a nice girl, have a great family, and retire to the beaches of Hawaii where he would live in a bungalow (grass hut) and surf all day. The grass hut isn’t the prize in itself, it's just the place we happen to keep the things important to us, but it's still the symbol in our minds of a whole life. It's been awhile since my last challenge, and stuff hasn't been great. I need this more than ever, and the timing was too perfect to wait. This is the part in the story where conflict arises. It's going to be a fight from here on out, but I learned a lot of tricks and saw a lot of problems the first two times. So, I’m going to have to take this how it should be; one step at a time, really because this lady is shopping for particularly glittery stairway.
  21. I am doing these items this challenge: foot and hip PT, guitar and piano practice, cooking and eating mindfully, household chores, bedtime routing, NF and D&D. I am experimenting with two hour blocks of time during the day. I have 6 of them that I can assign to anything I want of the above items, or a few others like drawing and socializing. Quest: Take Control of My Days Implement a strategy for daily tasks and follow through with it for 6 weeks. Get at least 80% on each goal for full points. Goal 1 TRACK AND ANALYZE PT exercises - will analyze once per week. PT exercises are for everyday. [plank, cobra, hands and knees hip raise, elevated bridges, side prone hip star, side prone bend, glutes and straight leg squeeze, DB squats, toe curls, arch raise, side toe pull, ankle band pull] Award: +2 STR +2 DEX Goal 2 -- EDIT -- Will now be emotions and beliefs without sugar junk food and when I eat. LIST EMOTIONS AND BELIEFS about myself when I eat. Using mindfulness as a tool to be calm and curious about my feelings rather than harsh and critical. Will post twice a week on how it's going. Award: +1 CHR +2 WIS Goal 3 TRACK FOOD BUDGET - I'm spending too much on food. Meal planning will help as well as stock up cooking. I haven't done either very much so it will be interesting to see how they work for me. Award: +2 WIS Goal 4 STAY IN THE MOMENT! Use alarms to signal beginning of each 2 hour block. This will help me stay active with things and not have to worry about how much time has gone by or is left. I did this with visiting and it really made a difference in my enjoyment level. Award: +5 CHR Side Quest Goal: MEMORIZE CHORDS on the guitar. Award: +1 Bard Skills!
  22. Dantilla kept her eyes low as the caretaker walked past, pretending to study the pattern on the mosaic table in front of her. Once he had passed, she resumed her actual task--sharpening a blade she had swiped from the kitchen. She frowned at her makeshift whetstone and at the inferior weapon. In her previous line of work, she had become accustomed to much better. But, what was an assassin without her blade? A voice from behind her startled her, and she hurried to hide her items, but knew it was too late. It never ceased to amaze her how silent her caretakers could be. "Oh Young One, do not think it is a secret that you long for your own land. We have no desire for our home to become a prison for you. If you were to feel trapped, you'd never come back!" The caretaker held out one of Dantilla's daggers, which she had not seen since before the...incident. Dantilla eagerly took the blade. “Come.†She led Dantilla out of the solarium, down the winding road through the orchard, to the lake at the edge of their dwelling. "This lake separates our dwelling from from the world you knew.†Dantilla could only barely see the land across the great expanse of water. “When you can cross it, you will be ready to leave." Dantilla looked longingly at the land beyond the lake. She knew this task would require strength, endurance, awareness of her limits, and a leap of faith. Challenge: Some progress in my recovery has been made, but I lost a lot of my previous fitness. I want it back. I have to be really diligent with my disciplines. I need to make my physical therapy things a real habit. All my PT stuff as one chunk—6 days a week CON Meditate 5 min Foam rolling—all of it Transverse abdominus exercises—regular, toe tapping, and butterfly Calf work—calf raises, balance and stretching Hip stretches Sight-singing practice—3 days a week WIS & CHA I must sight-sing SOMETHING. I have to keep this skill sharp, like my blade. Gratitude practice—6 days a week min WIS Everyday I write down 5 things for which I am grateful. A little something I learned from the Caretakers. Exercise—Swim 2x week minimum, 2x week black widow workout STR & STA I WILL CROSS THE LAKE
  23. I think this challenge is going to be a little different for me. Last challenge I sprained my ankle, and although it's feeling better, I'm not sure when i'm going to be getting back to working out. I want to... well no I need to start working out again, but I'm going to have to take a look each week and possibly make some changes on my workouts depending on how my ankle is feeling. During this time I'll have some challenges, Going to 2 FIRST Robotics competitions (next week is the first one). Food choices can be tricky, but we're staying somewhere with a fridge and I'm hoping this week is not too crazy with work so i can prep some food to take. VEGAS!!!!!! My boyfriend and I will be going to Vegas for a weekend mid March. Have plans to see 2 shows, and just spend some time relaxing. He's super supportive of me eating better, and questions every time I decide to eat something I shouldn't... but I know it's going to be hard to not indulge. So Cal Ragnar This challenge will end the weekend before myself and 11 other friends do Ragnar So Cal. I'm running the shortest/ easiest legs ,but looking forward to it! (I think I have 10 miles total, and no leg is longer than 4 miles) Quest 1: Eating better No more than 1 cheat thing a week. Taking vitamins every day. Quest 2: pick up the book Spend at least 30 mins a day reading (aka less time watching TV) Quest 3: Move! Week 1: walk at least 3 miles, ride trainer at least 30 mins each evening, and yoga or Pilates 2x Week 2: Walk 8 miles total, and yoga or Pilates 2x, and 1 day of cross fit Week 3: start c25k , and yoga or Pilates 2x, and 2 day of cross fit Week 4-6: Run double's couch to 5k program, yoga 1x (min), and 3 days of crossfit I will be finishing this challenge!!!
  24. Hello, everyone. I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place to post this, but I am curious to each response. I suffer from IBS-C (irritable bowel with constipation), with occasional bouts of diarrhea. I've been diagnosed with IBS by a doctor, taken labs, enzymes, probiotics, food elimination/FODMAPS. While I've made great strides in improving my condition, the constipation and bloating are still a pain. Sometimes, sporadically, I get loose, and really just cannot pin down what in the world is going on. Much of my condition is psychogenetic, but even on the days when I am otherwise calm and happy, I still get 'plugged' up. Recently, I just ordered some L-Glutamine and Collagen Hydrosolate (it's like bone broth), so hopefully those will help. But otherwise, I try to eat a balanced diet. I am wondering what you guys have done to combat your own IBS problems? With probiotics, I have yet to find one that is dairy free- I've tried soil-based, but these only made my constipation worse (Prescript Assist, Primal Defense), but might try Megafood's Megaflora, as it's dairy free (I cannot tolerate ANY dairy whatsoever), so I'm wondering if this is another problem as well. Would love to hear your thoughts!
  25. My primary quest for this challenge is simple: Exercise daily for 6 weeks without injuring myself. I have a tendency to get carried away with goal-setting, refusing to back down once I've declared a target, so this time I'm not going to set any quantitative objective other than "do something towards the quest every day." The exercise could be yoga, t'ai chi, Pilates, aerobics, or low-intensity weight training, as long as it can be done without causing undue distress to joints and muscles. (+WIS, +STA, +CON, perhaps +STR depending on what exercises I opt for) Sub-quest #1: Sign up for beginners' Pilates class and learn the basics. (+STR, +DEX, +STA) Sub-quest #2: Establish a daily meditation practice. (+WIS) Side quest: Read! I have a number of partially-read books occupying prime real estate on my desk, including A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine, a book about Stoicism. The contents would do a lot more good in my brain, so I'm going to strive to read every day. I was about to quantify the amount of reading, but caught myself just in time. (+WIS)
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