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  1. So I've been thinking a lot about how I never think before I eat. Or rather, I never think about what I'm going to put into my mouth and how it will affect me. As a gamer, I'm aware of the idea of incremental progress. You gain your experience points, you slowly improve in your skills, you gradually master your attack rotation for your frikkin' Frost mage. Or, you know. Whatever. >.> The point is that food works the same way, with the added attraction of negative progress. Some foods are clearly good for humans. Some foods are clearly not good for humans. There's a lot of gray area, of course, where it comes down to moderation. Friends and neighbors, I suck at moderation. I've mentioned a few times that I hate to include cheat days on my diets because I know that one cheat lead to another, and suddenly I've eaten an entire bag of flour. I've been giving some thought to the idea that the best way for me to short-circuit the road to flourville is for me to actually think about what I'm going to eat before I eat it. I'm going to take the time to think about what the calories are like, what the ingredients are and how they've been prepared, and what a particular piece of food will do to my body. It's a simple concept, Spark, what of it? Sure, it's simple. All habits are simple on paper. The fact is that I've almost never taken the time to think about what I eat before I eat it. The last challenge had me counting calories, which was a hell of a big step in the right direction for this fat guy. Now I'm taking another step and thinking about the results of eating...well, everything. For six weeks. And just so I don't fudge (OMG fudge I make such good fudge no shut up shut up), I'm going to write it all down as well as think about it. Therefore, my goals for this six week challenge cycle! 1. A hero who thinks will win out over a villain who does not. Before I eat anything...anything, I will think about the results. I will consider calories, carbs, and protein. I will look at the micronutrients, and consider what I know of them. I will think about whether I am actually hungry, and whether I am considering a piece of food for the pleasure of it, or for its nutritional value. This will also involve me keeping track of my calories again (1800 seemed to be a reasonable daily thang) and cooking for myself more often. The goal is to make myself more mindful of what I'm eating rather than just stuffing in food by reflex. 2. I can't find anything in this damn Batcave. I got the clutters, folks. I have a lot of crap that I never see, never use, and will never need again. I have places to store things, but they're overflowing with the aforementioned crap. I need to clean my room, my truck, the back porch, and the shed outside. I need to box, sort, dust, vaccuum, wash, and tidy. I need to figure out what I have that I need and don't need, and send the stuff I don't need to the farm, which in this case is a local secondhand store. To that end, I hereby pledge to spend an hour cleaning every day except on the weekends. Cleaning encompasses tidying, moving, breaking down, dumping, and even actual cleaning. 3. The Never-Ending Battle. I lost about nine pounds during the last challenge cycle, bringing me down below 440 lbs for the first time since Hector was a pup. I honestly don't know how long it's been since I was that "light," since for a long time I couldn't find any scales that could weigh me. The goal, though, is 400 pounds by my birthday in late October. I'm at 438. Therefore, the battle rages onward. a. Work out. Weights on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Home workouts on Monday and Friday, including the sloshing and the kett'ling. Bare minimum: Walk a mile on those days. And that's if I'm bleeding from the ears. b. Stick to the Whole23.4. That's my version of the Whole30, which is basically "Whole30 with some cheese." Because dude, CHEESE. c. Check in here every day. Knowing that people are going to check in on me, even if it's a couple people, helps me a lot. 4. I should write my memoirs. During my last challenge, I wrote the first half of my second book, which came to about 81k words. This time? The second half. Oh, and I plan to join DarK_RaideR's Optional Ranger Mini-Challenge, both because I think it's awesome and because he was crazy enough to base it on a book that I wrote. Cheers!
  2. SO THERE I WAS. Late. It's how I roll. Hi! As is becoming depressingly common on these, my semi-regular fitness challenges, I realized that I had managed to slide back into some of my old, bad habits. I haven't lost any ground, weight-wise, but I sure-hell haven't gained any. Ground, I mean, not weight. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. My point is that I'm right on the edge of gaining weight through inactivity again, so it's time to kick myself in the butt. Last challenge cycle reminded me of the importance of coming here regularly, posting regularly, and keeping up with people and myself to make sure that I stuck with a plan. 1: Keep Track. That is, establish and maintain a daily Battle Log. This will include a diet log, because 2: Keep to the Diet That's right. Back on the Whole30, folks. There will be a spot of dairy from time to time, but outside of that I'm gonna do it. o.o 3: Keep Improving This will involve my current workouts, and in addition: a. 4 miles walked a week, minimum. None of this 1/2 mile a day stuff that I settled for in the last challenge, too. Whole mile or nothin'. b. Add kettlebells and squats back into my world. 4 times per week: 3 30-second KB swing sets, 30 reps of body weight squats. c. Now that it's thawed out, use that slosh pipe three times a week. That's a 50-yard circuit while walking, 3 reps. 4. Come back here every day. I know, that's sorta implied with challenge 1, but I want to be sure. It really helped me keep track of things during my last challenge. For those of you curious about how things are going with my lady, the answer is "remarkably well." She's sticking with her self-imposed diet, and we're walking together every chance that we get. For someone who was in surgery just a couple-three weeks ago, she sure isn't having any problems walking a half mile at a time. I'm proud of her and looking forward to helping her during her time of difficulty. Edit: Battle log established!
  3. Avast. So it's come to my attention that sticking with something works better when you have some sort of accountability. Well, the deal is that I have a weight-loss goal. My birthday is in late October; in 2014 I weighed 459 pounds (208.5 kg). My current goal is to try to get to 400 pounds by the time my birthday rolls around again in 2015. I hit a bit of a stall over the holidays, got a little boost from the first NF challenge cycle of 2015, and have decided to get super srs during the second challenge cycle (Feb 23rd). I'm going to start by doing the Whole30 diet (plus dairy) for the six-week challenge cycle. Get mah eating under control, you know? I'm aided in this by a few factors. First, during the first challenge cycle I drank nothing but water. I ate normally (ish) but there were no liquids but straight agua going in. Since then, I've tried a diet Pepsi or two...and found them too sweet for me. I know that I could fall back into that habit if I allowed myself to do so, but why bother? Also, my girlfriend is determined to get into better shape for medical reasons. This encourages me to add walking to my workout, among other cardio. So here I am! Time to start a new battle log. The goal here is to do a daily review of my diet and working out. It'll be interesting, if nothing else. I look forward to kicking some butt. There will be more concrete, number-based information tomorrow. Cheers!
  4. Because "How a Hero Gets His **** Together" didn't play well as a topic title. So! Last challenge didn't go well for me. I started late, had a two-week vacation at the beginning, and then constant distractions and interruptions along the way. Ergo, I think it time to get my act together again. So! Spark's life challenge is to get to 250 lbs. In the year and a half since I was first diagnosed with diabeetus, I have lost 34 pounds of fat, putting me at approximately 445 lbs. I will have more exact numbers tomorrow morning. This is a process, so I'm fine with the fact that I'm going slowly. My other major goal is to get my writing career in a place where it's actually making me enough money to survive on my own (without the generous and deeply appreciated help from both friends and family). Anyone remember this thread in Steve's blog, about becoming a superhero in real life? I figure that real life superheroes need a lot of the same training that you see in Ranger threads, so I'm going with that. After all, I'm proud to have friends here on this very forum who are real life superheroes. I need to invent a superhero to become, but that's okay. Right now I'm in training. I'm losing weight and becoming capable of more things every day. My goals are a reflection of that. 1. Work the workout. This is the same goal that I had in my last challenge, for those taking notes. I have a workout plan that involves doing things six days a week, and I'm notorious for not doing all six. This is the challenge where I will do all six, hell or high water, unless I'm incapacitated by the flu or some damn thing. That's 36 workouts during this challenge cycle. Each workout involves work at home, and four per week involve work in the gym. So scoring this one is simple, neh? 2. Work the diet. The Whole30 diet (basically paleo) is working wonders for me. But like any closed system, entropy creeps in. I find myself occasionally having a Hershey bar or something, or breaking the diet in other ways. These instances of entropy become more frequent every day, and while I haven't gotten to the "two pounds of sugar straight from the bag" point, I'd rather nip the entropy in the bud before it gets any worse. This is a holding action, in an effort to ingrain new habits a little deeper. 3. Work the books. No, not the writing. That's going pretty well without the goad of a challenge, actually. What this challenge refers to is learning new exercises. Once a week, I plan to learn how to properly execute a new exercise. This includes making sure that I know what I'm doing when it comes to ones that I "know" but need more work on, such as the deadlift. I will burpee. I will do kettlebell exercises that I haven't done before. It will be good to add new things to my arsenal. So there we have it, folks. Spark's challenge for this cycle. I look forward to seeing you guys working this cycle. Cheers!
  5. Greetings fellow conscious beings! Spark here, with another mad-science body experiment challenge, this time with added life goals! And exclamation points. I make no apologies. Challenge 1: Lift the World, Atlas. (note that this is in addition to my regular workouts). a. Squat. That is, squat 20/day, bodyweight, for the first week. Each week of the challenge thereafter, add another 20/day. Ambitious from where I'm sitting now, but my experience with the kettlebell swings of the last challenge tells me that I can do it. b. Shoulder mobility. As of now, it's very difficult for me to reach back far enough to grab hold of a barbell for proper low-bar squats. I'm going to add three shoulder-mobility-workout days each week, MWF. Challenge 2: Eat like a Hunter. Whole30. That's it, whole-hog, for the whole six weeks, no excuses or slacking. In my case, that includes defeating the cheese-beast. It's basically paleo, without me half-assing it like I have been. Challenge 3: Work like a pro. a. 2000 words a day. I'm a freelance writer, so I have to write. No excuses, unless I'm physically unable to write. This used to be my regular dailt output (thanks NaNoWriMo!) but I've slacked off. This is unslacking. b. Edit a minimum of ten pages a day. I have stories languishing on the hard drive. Have you ever seen a digital file gather dust? Not pretty. c. No video games until after 5PM, and hen only if I've finished parts 3a and 3b for the day. Seriously, this is one of my bigger problems, time-management-wise. Side-Challenge: Planks of steel. (Special thanks to Aminarra) a. Work my way up to a 30-second plank. Probably the same days I'm working shoulder mobility. There was a time that I thought I was doing planks right, and then I did the reading and found out that I was not. o.o b. Work leg raises and bridges on the same day. Spark's beginning point for this challenge: Weight 461. (209 KG, or 33 stone). Neck: 22.5"/58cm Chest: 57.5"/146cm Bust: 66"/168cm R Bicep: 18.5"/47cm R Forearm: 15"/38cm Waist: 53"/134cm Belly: 66"/168cm Hips: 56.5"/143cm R Calf: 20"/51cm *deep breath* Hoo. Go RANGERS! *edited to add the video game part*
  6. Welcome to my first Ranger challenge thread! You're all devastatingly attractive, I need you to know that. I had a few paragraphs already written last night, because I ramble, and then a passing thunderstorm said NOPE and turned off the house for a few minutes. But you can't keep a newly-minted Ranger down! So here I am, starting my second one. I learned some things from the first challenge, not the least of which was that while I'm strong I really need to work on nutrition and endurance/core exercises. That's what this challenge will be focused on. My main quest: Lose 200 pounds of fat. Ogres, as we know, will eat anything, and usually in large amounts. I have done this for some time now. During my last challenge, I actually lost four pounds plus several inches from my belly and other areas, so thus far I'm on the right track. Main quest: 2% done! During this challenge, I plan to focus on conditioning, core, and nutrition above all things. I'm not going to neglect moving heavy bits of iron about, but that won't be the focus during this six week period. Mission 1: Do 4000 55-lb kettlebell swings. That is, slightly under a hundred a day. I'm a writer by trade, and I've learned that you can do a huge amount of work if you just break it down and take it slowly (preferably with a deadline, but that seemed a bit morbid even for me given the situation). How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Mission 2: Seriously get after the paleo diet. Do it flat-out for six solid weeks. Check profits. Mission 3: Get me to a gym, and learn how to squat, deadlift, and bench press for realz. Other exercises as appropriate. I'm basically self-taught with most fitness stuff, and I'm a big fan of barbarian/primitive style workouts where you throw around rocks and beat on tires with sledgehammers. And those are awesome! I'm not neglecting my slosh pipe or my heavy sledge, nor my bodyweight workouts (especially as they pertain to my core), but sometimes you really just need a barbell to do things. Fortunately, I've worked out a deal where I'll be joining a gym with my parents, in theory starting...well, today. Side-Quests! I suck at these. SQ1: Do some drawing during the week. Three times a week ('cause I gotta have the quantifiable) for a half-hour at a time. I've always enjoyed drawing, even if I'm not that good at it. But how does one become good at something? One bite at a time. Cheers, fellow Rangers!
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