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  1. And we're back after a several week-long (and much needed) hiatus and ready to roll. Got a few more bad habits to shake, a couple of updated perspectives, etc. etc. One thing I want to start doing this time around is to plan my challenges a little bit better. In the past, there's been a focus on building healthy habits through identifying things that I do routinely (each day, each week, etc) which is useful, but is also incomplete. Building habits without any particular end in mind feels too much to me like just building a habit for the sake of a habit. It doesn't go anywhere. There's no endgame. Instead, it felt too much like an endless slog of self-improvement protips. So, different approach. Let's strategize, do some good ol' fashioned SWOT* analysis, and figure out a strategy to get where it is that I want to go. *SWOT Analysis-Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats. Step 1: Decide on End State. Step 2: Assess Current State. Step 3: Assess Threats and Weaknesses. Step 4: Assess Opportunities and Strengths. Step 5: Devise and Execute Strategy. 1. Decide on End State. At the end of the five four week challenge, here's where I'm hoping to be: 1. Eating out limited to once per week. 2. Sufficient meals prepped to enable #1. 3. Significantly curbed "zonk out in front of computer" time. 4. Awareness of what I'm putting in my body. That means tracking my food. I'm not happy about this one, and it's going to be hard, but it is what it is. I need to be aware of how much food I'm putting into my body. I'll need to do my utmost to keep my perfectionist tendencies from short-circuiting my goal here. Progress, not perfection. 5. Moving more. Less time on my butt in front of a computer and more time on my feet. 6. Increasing my time spent working on the weekends to take pressure off of my weekday work time. 7. Get back to regular (daily) piano practice routines. Even 15 mins per day will be fine. It's high time I got back to that. ---- And just to have it down, let's add in a couple of things that I hope will happen but won't lose sleep if they don't. 7. Basement repairs finished. (Yes, we are 6 months from when the flood ruined our basement. Yes, the insurance company is being jerks about it. Yes, I'm extremely pissed.) 8. Significant progress made on building a new workbench / mitre saw station for the garage. (Ideally, it will be complete by then, but not stressing it if not). 2. Current State. Diet is not so good. There's the recurring "something sweet" theme that happens almost daily where my wife and I talk ourselves into getting something--Ice cream, chocolate, gummy worms, etc. to cap off the night (when I was a kid, my parents called this "bedtime dessert" and it became pretty much an expectation that we'd get some kind of candy bar or something right before laying down for the night). Then there's the beer that's also basically an every day thing, but with the occasional dry week or couple of days. Then there's the running out of stocked up meals in the fridge and just ordering out which is both bad for our bank accounts and our health. My weekday routine consists of getting done with the workday, cooking dinner (or ordering once the fridge stores run out), and then gaming until bedtime, usually while drinking a couple of beers. On weekends, I usually fill one day with some kind of project and then the other day with a marathon gaming session. My gaming has picked up significantly since I finished my second computer build, and I suspect that some of it is driven by being able to play games previously unplayable on my older machine. Some of it is also driven by a desire to make good use of my investment because some of those parts weren't cheap. When not doing that, I was mindlessly scrolling reddit, but that's been curtailed since the API controversy. Work could be more fun, but still feels kind of like a slog as I have to motivate myself to do most things. I enjoy my job, and I get to do a lot of the things that I find fun--reading about esoteric topics, writing, strategizing client engagements--but I get pre-occupied by cravings for video game time and goofing off time (or maybe just turn-my-brain-off time?). My wife and I both game a lot, mostly to distract ourselves from the stress of day-to-day life. I want more interaction with her as well which requires pulling my nose out of this machine. And piano basically hasn't happened at all since I moved it back into the unfinished basement when we bug-bombed the house a month ago. 3. Assess Weaknesses and Threats. Weaknesses: -Work takes up a huge chunk of my weekday time and energy, and cooking dinner takes another huge chunk, so I'm left with not a lot of time to do much during the week. -I've got workout equipment in the garage, but going in that building depresses me because there's a huge crack in the concrete, and every time I see it I think "This needs to get fixed, and damn is it going to cost me a lot of money." -My workout space isn't very organized. Weights and other stuff are stored on the floor or on top of coolers. Might not be a big deal to most, but I've learned that having an organized space is important to me. -I don't have much in the way of workout-appropriate attire. Shoes starting to show their age (and I don't think they're really running shoes per se). Also don't have much in the way of workout equipment, but I've got enough to get me by. -Fridge space is very limited due to having a small fridge. Kitchen storage space is also pretty limited. -I'm a perfectionist. I tend to feel waves of guilt when I'm not measuring up to my own impossible expectations. I don't post on here as much as I think I should or I lapse on a commitment to myself, and then it all falls apart. -My property is very shady which doesn't leave me much in the way of gardening options. Threats: -Gaming is really tempting now that I've got some beefier hardware, and it's hard to resist. -Cravings for beer or sweets hit and its all I can think about. These get especially pronounced when I have a hard day and just want comfort. -There's plenty of stuff that can quickly throw me into a shit mood which will easily derail any attempts at self improvement. There's domestic stuff to stay on top of. We're still battling flea issues with the puppies. The $#$%#$ basement still hasn't been fixed and our insurance company is being the opposite of helpful. Work has its various frustrations and stressors. And the money just doesn't come in as much as I'd like it to (it never does). -Work is getting more complex, and I'm now taking on tasks that I don't understand (more strategic layer stuff) and am leveraging down the stuff that's easy for me. That's the way this is supposed to work, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. -I've also been cajoled into coming in to the office at least once per week which cuts into my weekday routine significantly. It also means devoting resources to improving my wardrobe (which, let's face it, needed to happen regardless). 4. Assess Strengths and Opportunities. Strengths: -I'm a damn good cook, and I know my way around the kitchen better than the average bear. I also enjoy eating most vegetables. -I've got a supportive community, both here and IRL. My wife is also highly motivated in the journey to make ourselves healthier and happier. -I still have my health and my youth. My knees work fine. No major injuries or ailments to contend with. Same for my wife. -No kids or dependents aside from the critters, and none anticipated any time soon. -Cash flow is currently pretty good, and expected to improve as time goes on. -Work is pretty flexible if demanding. I don't have set office hours. As long as I get in my minimum amount of time each week, I should be good. I'm respected at my job, and I do good work. Opportunities: -Got several good grocery stores around. The usual suspects, plus a farmer's market or two within relatively short distance. -I do have the basic workout equipment. Weight set, Olympic bar, bench. There's a lot you can do with just that stuff. -Also some nice walking trails nearby. -Plus a kayak. -I've also got lots of tools in the garage-Enough to enable me to build the organizational tools that I require if I have to. I've also got various technology tools to help me out. And meal trackers have been getting better these days. 5. Devise and Execute Strategy. Whew. Okay last bit. In light of all that, here's the breakdown for this challenge. 1. Daily-Track basic meals in my meal tracker. I'm not going to shoot for catching everything. Just the easy stuff. I'm also not going to stress tracking "beer" in the tracker. I'll pick one "beer" that will serve as a default beer in the tracker, and each time I have one, I'll track it that way. (Meal planners seem to be notoriously bad at recording beer calories which drives my perfectionist brain crazy. [though this ought to be an indicator of how bad beer for you is in that the ingredient labeling standards don't appear to be nearly as robust?]) 2. Weekly-Devote at least 30 minutes each week to building out my recipe collection in my meal tracker to make #1 easier. 3. As needed-Computer time on a timer. I'll set a timer to monitor my computer time. Reporting here will be limited to just whether I did that for the day or not. 4. Weekly-Devote at least a portion of my weekend time to meal planning and prep activities. That includes cooking, but also grocery planning, shopping, etc. I also intend to cook at least a few dishes each week that can serve as staples (so a braise or some other kind of meal that I can mix and match with other stuff). 4b. Look up a video on how to re-heat rice. For some reason, every time I try to reheat cooked rice, the texture's always way too dry, so I end up throwing out leftover rice. 5. Daily-Step goal of 8,000 steps. 6. Weekly-Minimum 1 hour of weekend work. Rule: That hour must be spent ONLY on work tasks that I enjoy and that excite my curiosity. Save the unpleasant stuff for the work week. I want my weekend work time to be something that I look forward to and not something that I dread. 7.Daily-Min 15 minutes piano practice time. Downstairs in my unfinished basement if need be.
  2. credit: MorJer on DeviantArt CHAPTER 1: AThousandWords finds a Door At the top of the hill. At the back of the wardrobe. At the end of the trail. There is always a Door. Today it is hidden in yellow siding, tucked away at the back of an unused train station, metres away from a bustling pedestrian highway. Hundreds of cyclists and joggers and families passing by daily, none the wiser. Finely painted, with a trompe-l'œil handle that you think you could reach out and turn. An ornate window made of clouded glass, just far enough out of reach that you'd have to get on tip-toes to see through. If there were anything to see. I must have run past it a hundred times myself - surely it's always been there? Tucked away by creeping vines and tall brown grass. I hesitate, torn between wanting to reach out and feel if the doorknob is real and warm from the sun, yet unwilling to let the illusion dissipate. Happy New Year! I'm going to indulge myself this year in a long-running, immersive fantasy. For me, 2022 is a work in peeling back layers of old habits and forging new ones that support the identity I want to embody. I'm unlearning some negative traits (particularly around diet and weight loss) and opening a door to more consistency, simplicity, and joy. My framework for this challenge is based on Atomic Habits: establishing micro-building blocks that feed into the habits I want to establish. It looks a little different from my previous challenges, but I'm giving it a whirl! Habit 1: Schedule and Start 2 hours of Deep Work every weekday Use reclaim.ai to schedule 2 hours of focused work time on work days When the notification goes off, I will actually get started with work - even if it's just 2 minutes Habit 2: Fill up water cup every morning Every morning while I make coffee, I will fill up my big 24oz water cup Habit 3: Spend 15 minutes every weekday adding recipes to Plan to Eat Use reclaim.ai to schedule 15 minutes of time every weekday Add at least one recipe that I'm actually willing to cook/eat to Plan to Eat during this time Habit 4: Practice yoga for 30 min a week I will complete a 30 min yoga class from the Peloton app for 30 min on Tuesdays, after daycare dropoff If, for some reason, I can't do Tuesday, Friday or Sunday are my back up days Behind the scenes, there are lots of other things I'm working on: I'm still training for a half-marathon and running 3-4x a week. I'm trying to read more (that's a work in progress that will probably be its own challenge item down the road). I never finished those dollhouses, so that's definitely going to be happening this month. I'm also still parenting two small kids during a pandemic, with all the associated stress and joy that brings. 🤷‍♀️ But these four things feel like a good starting point toward establishing healthy habits this year, and casting a strong vote toward the person I want to be at the end of 2022.
  3. Y'all - hold my hand. I'm doing something a little scary this challenge. I'm going off-roading. I've spent the last couple days rereading my old NF challenges (which was a fun trip down memory lane) and realized that while I've done some kick ass challenges over the last 8 years, I consistently fail once I fall off the boards. And while I love the NF boards, I don't want to spend my whole life always replaying the same game: doing weight-loss challenge after weight-loss challenge. I want to win the damn game and do new things. Once upon a time, I thought that meant 1. Get to my goal weight, 2. Profit?? but I'm realizing that the challenges I do here on NF are challenging... but unsustainable for long term. I need to build organic habits and set up systems that don't come crashing down the minute I take a break. Instead of starting anything particularly new this challenge, I'm going to set myself up for success by focusing on the big things that really help: meal planning and intentionality. For possibly the first time ever, I'm not doing a paleo/primal/grain-free challenge. Instead, I'm building up my recipe book with healthy recipes (and ok yes, those tend to be paleo/primal/grain-free for me personally) and let meal planning guide my diet. That's the scary part. I worry that I'm going to binge eat and go to donut town the minute the restraints are loosened. But letting go of the diet mindset is probably the only way I'll ever really get long term success. I am going to keep myself accountable by posting more often here on NF (plus I'm kind of an awesome cook, and I want to share what I make!). Meal Plan and Share - Meal plan 6 healthy recipes per week - Add 5 recipes per week to Plan To Eat - Log meals on NF challenge thread 5x per week – ideally with pictures! I'm also going to keep running – but that's it. Rule 6 of the Rebellion is: We Don’t HAVE to exercise, we GET to exercise. And I realize I've been putting myself in a box trying out video workouts from home and ST exercises that I don't really enjoy. I'm never going to want to do that long term. For 2022 I have a goal to find some kind of active hobby I enjoy (in addition to running) in order to cross train and working more activity, but for now – when it's cold and dark and I just want to hygge and hibernate? – I'm going to take a step back and focus on what's sustainable. Run - 1 long run (Starting at 45 minutes and adding 5 minutes each week) - Run 5k 2x per week I'm going to take the habits that work and keep doing them – no point quitting something that works! This is a compilation of little habits I've been fairly consistent at over the last 3 challenges. My goal is to track here, rather than Habitica, since I'm going to be posting meals anyway (right?). Continue Healthy Habits - IF 16/8 5-6 a week - Drink 8 glasses of water daily - Floss daily - Limit alcohol to 2x a week Finally, one of my big goals for the upcoming year is to read more. I want to keep up with my monthly Book Club, I want to finish the books I've started, and I want to knock some books off my to-read list. For this challenge I'm reading Atomic Habits, which is something I think will help a lot in the year going forward, as I make healthy living more of a habit instead of a diet. Read - Read November Book Club pick, Talking to Strangers - Finish The Starless Sea - Finish Deep Work - Read Atomic Habits
  4. Well here we are again, hoping this is not another case of insanity, doing the same things over again, and expecting a different result. I feel like I always start these challenges with the best of intentions to update regularly and keep with it, but it always fails for one reason or another. Usually it's the simple fact of trying to do too much all at once. So we're going to try things a little differently. We're going to give myself grace, and wiggle room, and we're going to keep it simple stupid 💋. I always feel guilty, because I want to cheer others on and check out their pages and keep updated with what's going on with everyone else, but I feel like thats where everything starts to spiral out of control; that guilt when I fall behind. So this challenge, I will be focusing on myself for the most part. If I have the energy to respond to comments, or follow other people's challenges, awesome! I'll do that! but, if I don't, that's perfectly fine, I really need to work on myself, and that's not selfish... that's just reality (I'm typing this just to remind myself. If you write it out, it becomes truth, right?) So my focuses this challenge will be as follows Fitness: I am working on c25k program, and am aiming for 3x's a week, but with how easily I've been getting overwhelmed lately, I am going to be content with as few as 1 run per week. 2nd Fitness: I will also be getting back to work on some bodyweight/flexibility work. I haven't decided if I will go back to doing core play again (since that's supposed to be a 6x's a week program, and that's just too much for me right now, and I don't know how scaling it back to 1-3x's a week will affect the effects of the program) or just work on the beyond flexibility, which will still work my muscles, just not quite as rigorously, and is a program designed for 3-5x's a week, so it is easily scaled back to a doable amount of times for me. So I'll probably be doing the BF, but it's still up in the air and I still have a few days to officially decide. I'll let you know when I make a decision, probably lol. Nutrition: I have started using an app called Eat This Much, which helps you plan meals based on your caloric needs and macros without me having to do all that math myself. The nice thing about this app is also that the meals are actually foods I regularly have on hand, and find delicious, and am not too scared to attempt cooking, and also the ingredients don't cost me an arm and a leg to get. So my plan for this challenge is to eat at LEAST one meal from the plan each day, but aim for 80% on target meals. I also have been using the Ate app to track my meals, although very sporadically, so part of this goal is also to log all my meals on the app. So what is all of this going to help me accomplish? Why would I put myself through all of this? (You may not be asking this, but I sure do some days... especially on run interval 7 of 8💀) The fast and loose explanation is, I would like to lose 100 lbs. The more nuanced explanation is: There are several things I really really want to do, but often times my body, and lack of stamina hold me back from doing them, like gymnastics, dancing, and running (which a newfound torture that I love ). There are also things that I want to do that my heavier body make more expensive and therefore unattainable, such as clothes shopping, or making my own clothes. Lastly, I really want to set a good example for my son of eating well, exercising regularly, taking care of myself, both physically and mentally, and just generally being a happy healthy adult. I want to show him how fun this lifestyle can be, and all the things you can do with a functional body. Alright, here goes!
  5. If you love food and you struggle with the idea of giving up all your favourite dishes this is the topic for you! I've been working hard to try out easy and delicious recipes that help you feel full, satisfied and still on track to your fitness goals! Today I want to share my newest discovery! Turkey Taco Bowls (Makes 4 Servings) 1 bag of microwave brown rice ⅛ teaspoon salt Zest of one lime 1 lb (500g) lean ground turkey 2 tablespoons taco seasoning 1 cup Salsa ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped 1 Taco shell Step 1 In a sauce pan spray with cooking spray and add ground turkey. Cook on medium heat, add taco seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes or until cooked thoroughly and mix in cheese. Step 2 Microwave brown rice according to instructions, in your serving bowls add the brown rice and mix lime zest and salt to each. Step 3 Assemble tacos bowls with ½ cup cooked ground turkey, ¼ cup salsa and chopped romaine lettuce, crumble up the taco shell and throw it on top. Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 460
  6. Hello! It's been awhile. Oh... you don't remember me... oh... well... that's not surprising to be honest. I have a tendency to start one of these, post like once or twice, then drop off the face of the Earth for 3 or 4 challenges, then pop back up randomly to do it all again... BUT NO MORE! I have had enough. Lately I've been making more small changes in my life to be more present, active and get out of my comfort zone. I've been attending meetups with *gasp* ABSOLUTELY NO ONE I know *dies of shock* So, to further push myself I will do another challenge! But also back it up with other accountability so I don't completely fail again. So without further ado my goals for this challenge: DIET GOALS 1) Complete a weekly Meal Plan in Real Plans 2) Make planned meals and track calories (we'll be focusing on tracking, not trying to stay in a certain threshold this challenge, to get a baseline and to see how certain meals stack up for later calorie restricting and macro planning) EXERCISE GOAL 3) 1 hour of Contortion progression stretching 3x's a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday) -I am currently researching for a good yoga-esque flow that will work for this, so today will still be counted as a win as long as I find/create a program for the rest of the challenge before end of day today. - This will be documented on my Instagram, I'll be time lapsing the first round (IE sorta like a "this is what I can do pre-warmup... but it will be after a brief warm up... not crazy enough to try and stretch cold >_<) and then time lapsing the last round (Like a "this is what I can do after an hour of work") If you wanna follow that progression, my Instagram is lifeslittlemistrys - I'm thinking each day will be a different foundation work - Monday Front Bends/ Hand balances, Wednesday Backbends (bringing back Wednesday Bridge Club!), and Saturday Splits MONEY GOAL 4) Create a monthly budget and track spending weekly -using the Everydollar app for this, such a good resource. So that's it... pretty simple this time around I hope... the only thing I'm worried about is the 1hr long stretching 3x's a week, but there's not really much point in doing less than an hour when trying to extend your range of motion i think. Any tips, tricks, resources that may be helpful would be much appreciated, and let's get this DONE!
  7. Ok, so we made it through the tutorial rounds. We’ve killed all the monsters we needed to kill. We explored Astera, set up camp in the Ancient Forest, explored the Coral Highlands and the Wildspire Wastes, and even ventured into the Rotten Vale. Now we’re on to the next level -- hunting HIGH RANK monsters in and around the Everstream in the Elder’s Recess. You know… the normal monsters, only bigger. And stronger. Much stronger. Stamina Fighting off monsters takes strength and stamina. This goal is for my running and lifting workouts throughout the challenge so that I can wield my weapons accurately… and run very, very fast if a monster goes full agro on me. I have a charity 10 Miler I am running in October, so I need to get back in training shape. Current mile time is 13:45 and I need to be to a consistent 13 minutes to feel good about this race, but damn I'd love to be back to 12 minutes. Running 3x Per Week, LIIFT4 4x Per Week, 1 Rest Day 0/30 Complete 3 weeks of LIIFT and Running SLAY DIABLOS Foraging Taking time to collect natural resources to craft useful items like potions and monster traps is a must. While out walking around and foraging, it will be important to stay hydrated - especially in the Wildspire Wastes. 64oz water a day, lunch walks 3x per week 0/35 0/15 Go for 10 walks and drink 64oz water daily for a full week without gaps SLAY ODOGARON Canteen Ordering a giant Chef’s Platter from the Meowster Chef is only useful if we’re off to hunt big game. Being mindful to only order what I need to fuel me on each expedition will not only make my body happy, but make my monster hunting much more effective. One cheat day a week, one order/eat out night a week, otherwise stick to meal plan. 0/30 Three successful meal plan weeks SLAY RADOBAAN Monster Guidebook It’s important to gather data when you’re out in the field to bring back to Astera to study the monsters in their habitats. Turning in data to the lead ecologist helps prepare for any encounter with any monster in the field… but you can’t be prepared if you don’t take notes! Journal 3 days a week. 0/15 Complete 9 new entries SLAY NERGIGANTE Overall - earn 80% SLAY TEMPERED KIRIN 0/125
  8. In honor of Earth Day I'm going to: After a little reflection I realized that I've been too cute with some of my challenge goals. So, I looked over past challenges and made a list of things that worked/felt right and pushed aside the things that stressed me out or made me judge myself. None of these things are truly hard, I just need to be consistent and make a lifestyle shift. So here are my recycled goals... 5 servings of fruit and vegetables Fiber Probiotics Water/Tea 24oz Body Weight 3x a week (with cardio mixed in) Weekly Meal Planning Food Prep 2x/week Pack healthy snacks Mindful eating (going to try taking pics of meals for accountability/reminder) I will use my bullet journal to track my challenge. I actually have a chart that I made for a past challenge, but never used, so I'm going to recycle it and use it for this challenge.
  9. So... since I have been going full tilt into olympic lifting this year, I figure I'm not really a Ranger at the moment Like with my stint with the Druids, I'm going to focus my next challenges around strength training so I don't split my time around too many things (and not get anything done!) No theme for this one, it's enough of a difference to be in the Warrior guild Sticking with my weekly point system. My Quests: Follow my oly lifting program and lift 5x weekly +1pt per session, +2 bonus for getting all 5 done Meal planning and shopping using Eat This Much +3 for weekly meal plan, +2 per grocery shop (2x weekly) Get back into learning fiddle music Pick three pieces to learn +3pts each Practice once a week +4pts per practice Go for a bike ride or walk at least once a week +4pts weekly, +2pts bonus for additional walks/rides Rewards: 64pts = violin stand 80pts = 1 month additional remote coaching in oly lifting 90pts = 15kg bumper plate (I only have one atm haha) I might post a few videos up here of any cool lifts I manage during the challenge - I am still at the super beginner stage though!! I was getting nowhere teaching myself, so I have started paying an intestate coach to program for me and give me help. Four weeks in and I'm miles ahead of where I was before, it's going great
  10. Back to basics because it's sorely needed... Sit. 1) Make a meal plan for the week. I'm going to try adding some more structure to my nutrition and hit certain macros at certain times, rather than just generally trying to eat an appropriate amount and get enough protein. My boyfriend recently coded up a script to help me figure out how much of the selected foods I need to eat to hit my macros, which will make this a lot easier! Also, if I already have my meals planned out and just follow the plan, it means I don't have to track or count! This is how to meal plan, right? 2) GET OFF SCREENS AT 8:30 PM. In caps because I'm shouting at myself to actually follow through with this - it's the best way to make sure I get to bed at a decent time. Exceptions can be made for briefly using a meditation app or playing music, but that's it. 3) Calm the monkey mind: meditate daily. I'm now preparing for a lifting competition, which will require traveling and staying away from home - both of which make me anxious these days. In order to prevent my mind from sabotaging me (I'd really like to sleep the night before lifting...) I need to develop skills for calming and focusing my mind. Lifting-wise, I'm currently on a deload, which is convenient because I'm also sick. Hopefully I can start my next phase fully rested and recovered this weekend. After a few months in the 6-8 rep range, I'll be back to focusing on strength with sets of 5, making count reps much easier! And I used to think anything over three was a big number... I'm now preparing to compete in 7 weeks, so I'll have a short strength phase (week of 5's, week of 4's, week of 3's) followed by a mini-deload and then tapering for competition. No theme because I'm lazy - please send gifs. EDITED: Now with corgi gifs. EDITED AGAIN: Now with meditation goal and competition prep!
  11. In recognition of the wacky new year's challenge dates, I have decided to do an epic 6-week challenge starting tomorrow! And yes, the Mt. Doom part is meant literally, I will spend the second half of my challenge on holiday in New Zealand Details to follow....
  12. Discipline A good assassin practices discipline, and great assassin lives it. Instead of focusing on different aspects of being an assassin, Snuggles needs to focus on improving the discipline in her life. She needs to focus on the things she can control and actively change. Physical #1: Working on the back. I have joined a Pilates group that meets twice a week. I also want to get back into my physical therapy. Week #1 of my challenge: Focus on physical therapy 3 times Week #2 of my challenge: Focus on physical therapy 4 times & Pilates twice Week #3 of my challenge: Focus on physical therapy 5 times & Pilates twice Week #4 of my challenge: Focus on physical therapy 6 times & Pilates twice Week #5 of my challenge: Focus on physical therapy 7 times & Pilates twice Physical #2: I need to do something physical every day. Things to include are walking at least 2 miles, hiking, weight training, knife practice or something else. Week #1 of my challenge: 3 times a week Week #2 of my challenge: 4 times a week Week #3 of my challenge: 5 times a week Week #4 of my challenge: 6 times a week Week #5 of my challenge: 7 times a week Bonus: I would like to average at least 70k steps a week and 10k a day! Prize to be determined… Diet: Snuggles needs to start interacting with food in good ways again. I need to eat breakfast 6 days a week. Sunday Brunch is acceptable if I get at least a piece of fruit early. Week #1 of my challenge: Week #2 of my challenge: Week #3 of my challenge: Week #4 of my challenge: Week #5 of my challenge: Tracking is King: Finally Snuggles needs to start incorporating her many interests into her daily routine. (The To-Do Chart has returned!) In the past my chore chart is a wonderful indicator of what works and where I need work. It gives me a weekly visual so I know very quickly where I need to focus my energies. I will use this along with my Fit-bit to track food and activities. Activities include French, Knife Defense, Knitting, Lockpicking, Game Night, etc. Week #1 of my challenge: Week #2 of my challenge: Week #3 of my challenge: Week #4 of my challenge: Week #5 of my challenge: Builder Goals: I will be starting fresh so this challenge will be spent focusing on creating a baseline. Week #1 of my challenge: Week #2 of my challenge: Week #3 of my challenge: Week #4 of my challenge: Week #5 of my challenge:
  13. I have to start this thread by saying (and hoping I don't jinx it!) WE FOUND A HOUSE!! We have a contract, and a closing date (January 18th) we will have to see if third time is a charm...we also have pre-approval and closing costs but I digress, we had those with the last one but hurricanes happen... A lot of the below portion was typed out over several hours into an open post...if it doesn't all make sense I apologize in advance... I will be fine tuning and refining this before next week...but as I stated at the closing of my last challenge In my head I keep saying I need to ignore the scale and such and just do what I enjoy and makes me feel good...but that's difficult when I want to break down and cry every time I look in the mirror...I can't stand to look at pictures of me from 6 years ago, or heck, even 3 years ago...wouldn't exactly say I was healthy then but I think a combination of what I did then and what I do now...I know whatever I'm doing now isn't working so I need to rethink it...On January 2nd I'll be here 4 years...always thought I'd be closer to my goals by now, not further away. I used to be the person that went out and had fun, I need to do this again. The job that I had (restaurant management) left little time for eating (mostly done on my feet) and a lot of walking/moving, I need to do this again I used to be the person who didn't worry about what they ate, not saying that was the best thing for me to do because a lot of it was junk, but maybe I don't need to obsess as much as I do now... I used to only eat once or twice a day, when I was hungry....and stop when I was full...I need to do this again I used to be the person who worked a 12 hour shift, got her homework done, and still made time to do the things she really wanted to as long as her schedule allowed...if it didn't then I didn't feel bad about using the time to catch up on sleep...maybe I need to do this again as well... 1. Move every day. Back then they didn't have fitness trackers, but I was on my feet 10-12 hours a day so I know I got a workout in. I have a desk job now but I have a lot of leeway, during season this will be easier but during the off season it's too easy to sit at my desk and not do much. I want to start getting at least 10,000 steps a day, and one day of kickboxing a week. The first two weeks I will start with 6,000 steps (5k distance) and increase from there. 2. Eat when hungry, stop when full. Counting calories and carbs is not working for me. I need to stop obsessing over having breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I'll eat when I get hungry, if that means I don't eat breakfast then so be it. If lunch isn't until 2pm that's fine. The only thing is it has to be real food, not fast food, not junk. Mostly veggies and some protein. 3. Beyond checking in here (which I still intend to stick with 3x a week) I need to stop making plans and canceling them for whatever reason...be it my wife is working late, I talk myself out of it, etc...work obligations notwithstanding...or if sleep really is an issue (which should not be the case before season). I am also going to be taking that long-awaited (by my boss) vacation to set up my house after we close things should be a lot easier after this gets done...can't wait till I can open a door and let the dogs out into the yard!
  14. Hi everyone! First time posting as a warrior (I think) and first time posting in a LONGGGG time! I took a break from making health and fitness a priority because I was focusing on school. Well good news, I graduate in 2 months!!! Also good news, I'm getting married next November! In light of my walk down the aisle I want to work on getting my physique back in order. I like lifting heavy and I am definitely interested in overall strength as well as physique. My training style is sort of all over the place right now. I like the concept of training the powerlifting lifts plus accessory work, but the reality is I have workout ADD and can't keep to a regimen. As its been awhile since I've focused on fitness I'm building in some leeway on my workouts. Diet wise, I prefer to keep to a paleo-ish lifestyle. I eat mostly clean with rice, white potatoes, oatmeal and sometimes butter added in without consequence. My pitfall is that I emotionally eat and I love sweets, so I struggle with snack foods like ice cream and candy. Also (as I am a student) caffeine is important to me when I study. I hate coffee and most tea makes my stomach upset. This means when I have to turn to caffeine it's in pop form. I've purchased caffeine pills as an alternative, but taking them is a struggle. I feel like a legit drug addict when I take them! Lastly, on the life front I want to focus on getting back to my social life post school. So my goal will include some extrovert time. Sorry I'm late to the party (I know it started yesterday). I just decided yesterday to get back on track and I was lucky that the challenge had just started. I will post my actual challenge tomorrow when I'm on a computer and not a phone!!
  15. My family and I are American expats who live/work in a developing country which has not much choice in the selection of foods to maintain a healthy diet. Our food sources are found at a local bazaar and are seasonal and therefore we do not have availability to all foods year round. In late fall and winter there are only beets, carrots, potatoes (sweet potatoes only available from late October to the end of November), onions, apples, lemons, and oranges. There are no greens, tomatoes, nor other spring veggies, fruits, and berries. To workaround this we can or freeze what we are able. Meats that are available to us are beef, chicken, lamb, and sometimes goat. We have little or no access to pork (for cultural reasons) or fish. The fish comes in frozen and is not well taken care of meaning that we have become ill each time we have eaten it. Farm raised trout is something new and can be found at times in various markets. We do have access to nuts, legumes and pulses here in abundance. Also, buckwheat, barley and a variety of white rices. We have very little to no access to chia or quinoa. Most dried foods are good here except fruits in which the drying process is done in the villages where they lay out a sheet on top of a roof and let the sun do the work over several days. These dried fruits often have worms in them which forces us to freeze them for a period of time to both kill the worm and the eggs. The water is not clean and we must filter it through a bio filter plus another heavy metals filter before we can drink it. Many times during the week the water will be shut off for an entire day. Therefore we store several days of potable and non-potable water to make it through each week. We are looking for a nutritionist or other food expert who might be able to help us with our situation. We are excellent cooks and have a lot of knowledge in the kitchen. We do not eat processed foods and make every meal from scratch. Yes, this takes a lot of time. Most of the locals here eat every meal fried because they believe that it is the healthiest choice for them as they feel that the bacteria will die at high temps when frying. I will be happy to proved more specific information if necessary. Thanks in advance, Sonic
  16. I need to plan meals. If I don't, I skip meals. And that helps no one because instead I just snack on all the snacks at work. What I need to get started is an app or website that will give me recipes and allow me to meal plan and know what I'll need to get so I can then substitute as needed. I often forget to think about it, but I want to be able to just get it all and not have to worry about "what" I'm making with it. But I need help. Does anyone know of any good either free or cheap meal plan apps for phone or meal plan websites?
  17. Tranquility, I will find it with this challenge. As a Zenyatta main, it's my primary goal. Primarily because I have a few weeks of break from school after a year non-stop. *happily takes deep breath* This is technically my third challenge, though I think of it as my second. School turned into a beast with multiple accelerated classes at the same time work ramped up. It was the worst timing ever. I've been waiting for this break and challenge. Based on previous experience, I'm going with the KISS rule here, keeping it super simple. In the past, I've tried to tackle too many goals at once, and then when I failed on one, it felt like a huge overall failure when I had such lofty goals to start. Fitness Goal - Hit the gym four times per week, one of those being Sunday so that I can take the one-hour stretch class. It feels amazing and I'm always so happy I went. Food Goal - Track all of my food on MFP. I tend to stop logging when I go over cals or blog sugar on a day, and I fall off from there. All days must be logged or I can't see my progress. If anyone wants to join me on MFP, the link to my profile is in my sig - I'd love to add friends there! Life Goal - Be conscious of my sleep time and ensure I get enough. - Update NF. I read so many amazing updates with awesome stories and RP and so much creativity, and I feel pressure -completely of my own doing- to feel like I should or need to commit to the same. It's ridiculous, I know, totally of my own making. Maybe because I'm an artist and I feel a need to add flair everywhere. :-P So simple updates at least once every three days, and they need be nothing more than brief updates on my three goals. Speaking of responsible bedtimes, I'm heading off. Wishing everyone well on their goals this challenge!
  18. I'm back with a shiny new program! No barbells this time (well, they will make an appearance later in my program), but I am still focusing on strength. For those of you that followed my previous thread, you'll remember my disillusionment when I realized that a lot of the authorities on strength training are d00d-focused. And the self proclaimed father of them all is a sexist turd. (Not all male fitness gurus are sexist by any means, but there is a lack of representation of women in the sport, which had me feeling excluded at times.) With the help of some friends, I found some female lead and focused programs that I feel good about supporting and don't make me feel like an inferior piece of garbage. So... I have chosen the Girls Gone Strong 12 week strength training program! Since I just had a three week summer break, I am going to get right to it. Here are my goals for this challenge: Document workouts in my bujo and create a blog post for each block of training (4 blocks 4 weeks each = 4 total blog posts for this program) Meal plan with Mr. Z every weekend before grocery shopping Meal prep every week w/ Mr. Z (including snacks!) Reflect for 5 minutes in my journal every night before bed Now get to werk!
  19. So... This being my first challenge at 32 years old, I have decided to use this as a reset. This is my personal new year, and while I was away in Italy I did some soul searching (and eating) and I have found that I don't really focus on important things as often as I should. Because of this my time isn't used as wisely as it should be and I don't get as much productive stuff done. Time for Tina Fey to help me get my shit together I will make to-do lists every morning, and I can't play video games until the list is complete. A=28 days B=27-25 days C=25-20 D= 20 or less I will have an actual training program outlined - I bought a program online for my own reference, and will be telling my trainer what I want to work each day. For now he can pick what those exercises will be on our days working together, but it will be based on what body part/parts I plan on working that day. I will also do a minimum of 20 min of cardio a day (will be on to-do list). A=28 days B=27-25 days C=25-20 D= 20 or less I will be back on my nutrition program, no if/ands/buts about it. I have an extra food scale at home so I will be bringing it to work so I have no excuses on following the servings I should be eating. Meal prep will be on my lists when required. A=28 days B=27-25 days C=25-20 D= 20 or less (cheat meal is allowed once a week after the first 2 weeks). *Also a note, if anyone is willing to let me send pictures of my meals to them please let me know, I need some extra accountability on this one, especially on the weekends. Side Quest: Get on here daily and contribute to the community more... ADD IT TO THE LIST! A=28 days B=27-25 days C=25-20 D= 20 or less Now to get to work!
  20. I'm late but I'm here! I took an extended week zero thanks to traveling. I got home a couple hours ago so figured I should put up a challenge thread. My spreadsheet will be added to this post when I create it, lol. I'm actually going to be doing my challenge officially for the month of June, but since the NF challenge started yesterday (oops) I'll still post along. I knew starting a challenge on vacation just wasn't going to happen. My depression has been bad, and I've identified one reason was my efforts to date go in waves and the current waves have been super crappy. So I am taking a break from attempting to date for the month of June. If I meet someone organically, cool, but I'm not going to try (dating sites, etc). That should help with my depression. I'm also going to try a little less hard to do ALL THE SOCIAL THINGS. That will also help with my depression. So, goals for the challenge: I now have a 24 hr access pass to my gym. Huzzah! This means I don't have to avoid going because I feel guilty for giving up time with my son (which was a cop out, since he's out on his bike anyway). I can go after he's in bed if I want (since my mom lives with me, he wouldn't be unattended). So the goal is going to be hit the gym three times a week, and I'm roughly targeting Tues/Thurs/Sat, with allowances that life happens so I can reschedule if need be. While I would love to lose weight after spending the last two months re-gaining a bunch of what I had lost, instead of eating at a deficit I'm going to make my nutrition goal be to not go above maintenance calories period. No eating back the calories I "earn" from activity/exercise, no exceptions for special occasions. If I do lose weight, I will readjust MFP to recalculate my new maintenance level. If I do well with this, I expect to lose some weight just because of the activity level I have on a daily basis at work. This will seem really weird to put as a goal, but, I will play at least two hours of video games per week. Because I keep avoiding playing WoW with my family and friends due to stupid anxiety/perfection/depression reasons, and I want to get back into it. I also still haven't touched the Steam games I got for xmas/bday. So yes I am actually setting a goal to play games! LOL! Side benefit: video games are the one indoor hobby I have that I don't like to eat during, because I don't want to get food on my keyboard/mouse. So the more I game, the less I snack, which is a score. My fourth goal is going to be to read for at least two hours a week. I have barely read a page in the last month. It's been all Netflix all the time. I'd like to get back to reading. My fifth goal is going to be to get at least one hour of outdoors exercise a week. This can be walking, hiking, biking - but I know I feel better when I am getting out in the sunshine. I think five goals is enough, so, now I will build my spreadsheet, edit in the link, and then I'm all set to unofficially start tomorrow. Edited to add: Challenge Spreadsheet
  21. [posting from my phone so forgive my typos & grammar] Life story; CURRENT GOALS 1. Get out of bed when your body wakes up. When I'm on work time I generally need to be out of bed by 6am to have enough time to cruise through my morning routine, but I've often woken up earlier then my alarm and tried to sleep more and made myself feel worse when I do finally get up. I'm going to make a point of hauling ass out of bed when I wake up if it's within a few hours or so of my alarm going off. 2. No screens in the morning before work. This is well-known to be counter-productive. I try to lose myself in social media or pinterest to avoid thinking/getting anxious about going to work and then I feel like shit physically and mentally. I can do anything else with this time; read, write, draw, crochet, exercise, etc... I'm constantly feeling guilty for not spending time on any of my many hobbies and the morning time is supposed to be great for productivity. As a well-known night owl, we shall see. 3. Track food; Stay within +-500cals of 2000calorie target and aim for 100g of protein. I've neglected my food tracking because I was stuck on the couch for 3 months and feeling sorry for myself. And the last two weeks I've been on holidays; no one needs that sort of stress on holidays. For those interested in how I decided on 2000cals; 4. Burpees in the morning. I have not historically loved burpees. But they work literally everything. And if I can get through burpees before doing anything else I can tackle anything else that the day throws me. Thats the plan. And I need to work on cardio and strength for derby. I still have my gym membership so I still plan to use it, but I need a baseline of exercise to focus on. I am late to this one but better that then not starting at all. I plan on starting this on Tuesday the 6th because I won't be home until then. *hi fives self* Go team!
  22. First off - challenge spreadsheet here! Keeping things kind of simple, but I think these are some good goals, and would be helpful habits to get into (keep into, in the case of my step goal). Goal 1: 15k steps work days/10k steps other days Last challenge, I just went with the default 12k every day goal I have set on my fitbit. I decided to increase the goal for work days, because I'm very active on work days. I lowered it on weekends, because I really struggled to hit 12k, and I don't want to step a goal that is unrealistic to attain. The plan is to increase again next challenge (maybe something like 17k work days, 12k other days). Goal 2: 5 new recipes The last two challenges, I've had goals about how many different dinners (instead of repeats, leftovers, or takeout) in the four weeks. I started at 15, then I did 20. What I learned is that with a three person household, it's really hard for me to not have at least one (usually two) leftover nights a week. My freezer would fill up so fast. And... eating leftovers isn't really a bad thing. Eating out? Yeah, I am still trying to avoid that. But, I do want to continue to encourage my cooking creativity and to grow my skills as a cook, so over the course of this challenge I will make at least five new recipes. Goal 3: leafy greens 3x week I've noticed that while I eat a ton of veggies, I don't eat a lot of leafy greens, and I know they have lots of health benefits. I also know that the weeks I increase them, I seem to feel better. So this challenge I will eat them at least three days a week. Goal 4: Turn off TV at bedtime Honestly, this will be my hardest challenge goal. I have a LOT of trouble falling asleep. I typically either have something playing on my TV or laptop to fall asleep to. It helps to distract my brain away from thinking. Well, the last few weeks this has shifted into me staying up way too late because I get too interested in what is on the TV/laptop. So for this challenge I will work on turning the stuff off and just falling asleep.
  23. So last challenge I think I finally started getting things figured out... I also found out last week that I have not lost any strength, and have in fact gained some, and I am down 7 inches total since the start of the year. Part 3 is going to change some things up a bit, since I no longer have to embrace my hellish workouts because both my trainer and I hated them. Goal 1: Keep With The Check Boxes Aim to do better than the previous week (until I consistently hit good marks each week). Sundays will not count, that is my "no fitbit" day. 2. Meal Planning For The Win 30 days of healthy lunches, and 30 days of planned meals (Blue Apron Dinners from Wed-Fri acceptable). - Have first two weeks planned out before official start date of the challenge - Finish 1 other weeks planning each Sunday - 1 "F'it" or dinner out meal per week acceptable - Actually measure food 3. Solidify A Workout Routine I tend to fail at consistency lately when it comes to workouts, I normally get at least 3 days in but I would like to make sure I am getting in 5-6 days of activity weekly. 3 weight training days, 1 accessory day, and 1 "whatever I want to do but I better do something day" minimum per week. Life Goals! - I got the shirts (though some are still on back order), this month I have to get them printed or at least have a print shop to go to once the T-Shirts are in. If I get that done quickly enough, I need to set up a photo shoot by the end of the challenge, and start getting our stuff put on the site/social media. - Curtains! Since I didn't do that last challenge. Lets Do This!
  24. -Key-

    Key respawns

    After two semesters of butt kicking (and sitting way, way too much), I've got myself organized and sorted and I'm ready for Challenge 2. I'm keeping it simple for this challenge. I've made the mistake in the past of getting excited about a new start and setting incredibly optimistic goals that needed to be done by tomorrow in order for me to feel successful, and yeah. We've all been there, right? I tested this out last week during the rest and it worked out well. So my simple goals, and the steps I'm taking to set myself up for success: Food Log every meal, every food, every day - meal plan every Sunday, shop accordingly - try one new recipe every week to avoid boredom - log everything on Sunday for the week (a new tactic for me - I'm just the kind of person who'll stick with it if it's already "inked") Fitness Walk for one hour at the gym, Mon - Fri LUYL Drop cable - buy indoor antenna - buy modem - call Comcast for new user deal, arrange installation - call U-verse to see if they'll match the new user price - after installation, hook up Apple TV, Firestick (already have) And one thing that will help me on all of my goals: Log in to the boards here for inspiration every day. I get so charged up seeing everyone's challenges and progress, and it helps with my accountability since I don't have anyone reliable in RL. I have school again this semester and I'll be working that in with everything else, so I'm officially calling this good. I'm excited with the LUYL goal because this is something that's been on my To Do list for ages and I keep putting it off because I stress out during phone calls to utilities and such. No particular reason, that stuff just causes me great anxiety. When I knock that out, it's going to be such a huge sigh of relief. It's not fancy, but there it is!
  25. I have no idea what I'm doing yet, but here's a thread. I did update my November challenge spreadsheet with final results if anyone is interested. I posted a short post in my last challenge thread as well. Edited to add: Here is my challenge. Might be kinda simple compared to others I've done, but it's basically a "survive December lol" plan. Goal 1: not as SMART cause hard to measure, but, goal 1 is basically to be cognizant of my mental/emotional state and take care of myself Week 0: Decompress from the godawful Thanksgiving and be super kind to myself. Week 1: Prepare holiday battle plan to not binge on all the treats/take care of my mental state. Week 2: Recover from the family xmas on the 10th and cope with family time after work during this week. Remind myself I don't suck. Week 3: Have a phone conversation with my sister about how xmas needs to not repeat thanksgiving, or we don't go. Week 4: Finish long holiday weekend, then get home and decompress from the drama that is certain to happen. Hopefully not much. Goal 2: daily fitness goal - morning fitness Same for all weeks. I want to get 30 mins of activity before work. I wake up super early and want to turn that into gym time. However, getting steps at home is also acceptable this month. Goal 3: daily fitness goals - getting my steps 10k on non-work days 15k on work days Goal 4: nutrition goal - try new recipes Guys I have a crock pot, I should use it. The goal is to try at least 6 new recipes this month. Should be easily doable, since I have 3-4 planned for just this weekend. I thought about setting a higher number, but unsure how much cooking I'll be able to do the other weekends this month. December Challenge Spreadsheet!
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