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  1. In 2017, I saw my country implode and someone close to me unexpectedly die. The stench of this year may never come out of my hair. 2018, however, is going to be a Year Without Steaming Garbage. I declare it so. The obvious opposite of trash? Recycling! Let's follow this metaphor into concrete plans! Reduce - bad dietary choices! - hide junk food & rum in cupboards so they're annoying to access; do not buy any replacements for these items - drink 1-2 days week/max - keep the house full of fruits & yogurt instead Re-use - items I already have! - no online shopping unless something is genuinely needed! (think carefully: do I actually require this thing, or will a similar thing suffice?) - if I feel like getting something new to me, hit up a library, thrift store or independently-owned business! - whittle down 4 books from my in-person TBR pile; then give to charity/sell to used bookstore (see below) Recycle - "let it go" - literally: go through clothes & other items I own, donate/trash what I don't use - figuratively: meditation. Download a meditation app & really give it a go. I've always failed catastrophically at meditation. This will be my final attempt before abandoning it for life. I will be sure to mark each failing with an Oscar the Grouch GIF so you can clearly, easily locate them. Though I imagine you'll be able to smell them from a mile away. JOIN ME!
  2. Introduction: My name is Sandra. This is my first challenge, and I think I need it. A couple years ago I embarked on a weight loss journey and lost 70 lbs. It felt good, but over the last several months its been creeping back on as I've become sedentary again and forgot about tracking my food etc. I'm also sleeping like crap. Not only that, but as I've become more sedentary all the old aches and pains are back, and worse than ever. I've been telling myself all summer I need to 'get more active', but apart from a few brief spurts here and there, I've mostly been sitting/lying around telling myself I hurt too much to move. I need the focus of a challenge, and other people to help me stay on track. My goals are fairly modest, but I'm going from zero again. Once I've mastered this hill I can look to climbing a mountain again. Main Quest: Move regularly again and use exercise and movement to regain stamina, endurance, flexibility, and reduce stress and joint pain. Hopefully that will also lead to some weight loss so I can fit into my clothes again and not look like a stuffed sausage. Weight lost matters less than how I feel - less pain, less stiffness, less exhaustion. Will be creating a 'pain/stiffness/exhaustion' scale from 1 (=none) to 10 (=most), with a goal to go from about an 8 (now) to a 2. Quest 1: Get Good Rest Getting enough sleep is crucial to feeling rested the next day, and also helps avoid overeating (using food to replace energy that wasn't gained through rest). a. Go to bed during work nights between 10 and 11 pm (goal to fall asleep by 11 pm). This will ideally mean 7 hours of sleep a night. If insomnia hits, I will NOT turn on the computer or play on my phone, but read quietly in a dim room until sleepy again. b. Make the bed every morning so that it is welcoming and ready for sleep at night. This includes clearing off bags, clothes, books, etc. Quest 2: Move it, Move it Avoiding stiffness and joint pain requires movement. I know this works for me, because it has worked in the past. Ideally this movement is low impact and regular, and includes a variety of movement so I don't get bored. a. Five times a week, go for at least a ten minute walk. If this becomes routine after a couple of weeks, add a day, and/or increase the minimum walk to fifteen minutes. If its cold or rainy or miserably hot, walk in the back halls (at work), or go to the mall. b. Work out for 20 minutes three times a week. One yoga or pilates, one cardio, and one strength, to work on flexibility, stamina, and muscle strength. I have dumbbells and a resistance band and a yoga mat and various exercise DVDs and youtube videos saved - its time to use them again. Quest 3: Track that Food Eating mindlessly is my biggest enemy. I like healthy foods and eat them regularly; but I also get sucked into eating far too many snacks and sweets, and all without thinking about it. My best success in avoiding this, while still getting to enjoy treats, was to track my food intake. Hauling extra weight on my joints is not good. Being mindful is good. a. At least five times a week, track all food eaten that day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks). No matter what it is, no matter how much, and no matter when. Tracking food helps minimize mindless snacking and leads to better awareness of portion sizes. b. No snacks from the vending machine at work. If I feel like snacking at work, go for a walk in the back halls instead. Any other snacks get tracked (see point a.) Quest 4: Prep for the new Cats Now that Icarus is gone, its time to get the apartment ready for new arrivals. In the next few weeks of the challenge I will go through all the cat stuff, purge what is old and broken. Carriers, cat beds, etc. will be cleaned and aired out. The floors will be cleaned thoroughly, and as much of the old cat hair will be removed from all furniture and other surfaces. Make sure the apartment is clean and welcoming to new cats. Reward: new cats! Very tangible, and very wanted. The golden goose at the top of the beanstalk. I *will* need help - buddies - to keep me on track. Without someone to be accountable too, its all too easy to fall into the procrastination trap of 'I'll start tomorrow', or 'It can wait'. Anyone who wants to be my buddy, let me know! And I will be your buddy too.
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