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  1. I am Chris Tarly (formerly Curl Brogo). I have been on the NF Forums for over six years now. My primary goal is and was to lose weight. And I've managed some progress in fits and starts and have been yo-yo-ing for all that time between 240 and 270. I have decided that to kick off the new year (2020) I'm starting over with a a hard reboot, and I'm joining the NF Academy. This challenge will focus on racking up XP points in with the NF Academy, then I have a few other goals that don't fall under that umbrella: writing, meditating, and homesteading. NF Academy: This is my big fitness goal. There's a lot going on here. I've got a lot of missions and quests and tasks dealing with mindset, nutrition, and workouts. I am going to focus on applying the "Never miss two in a row" rule to these three things. Mindset: Never skip morning stretching and Zazen (daily) two days in a row. AND Never miss eating a mindful breakfast (daily) in my mindful eating space. Nutrition: Never skip bringing a homemade lunch to work (M-F) two days in a row. Workouts: Never skip a weekday workout (M, W, F) two days in a row. I must keep this up until the end of this challenge. I will allow 3 strikes total. Missing doing a thing 2 times in a row is one strike. And you bet, not getting it the third time around is another strike. If I make it to the end of the challenge with < 3 strikes, I can open my treasure chest: That's $50. And I know those denomination actually look a little sketchy, like 2-3 drinks, $1 tips for the ladies, and a private dance... no. $20 is for two group boxing classes at this gym in town. The rest is for a trip to my new favorite Bar-cade, $20 will get me a couple drinks and the singles are for quarters so I can play the retro arcade games. Fitness Sidequests: For the weekends NF Yoga Saturday: Do a NF Yoga session on Saturdays Big Mind Sunday: Do a 45+ min Zazen session on Sunday Chinup play: Do 20 min of chinup/pullup assistance exercises Clean the Apartment: Todo list, to complete before the challenge is over Clean out wardrobe and give old clothes to goodwill Clean bedroom including under the bed Clean THE WHOLE bathroom Declutter (to GW) and clean the office Declutter (to GW) the office closet Declutter (to GW) the living room Declutter and clean the kitchen Clean the floors Writing: I'm still working on the novel I started for NaNoWriMo. Heh. I still haven't 'won' Nano. I really want to at least finish Part 1 of the novel which should be done around 50,000 words. Track word count. I wanted to do one hour a day, but I don't think that's doable with work and all the other goals happening. I'm still going to post about is so it stays on my mind. Starting word count: 42208 Homesteading: Right now I'm researching buying a fixer upper in the country where I can garden and have chickens. I'm looking at USDA guaranteed home loans, and am researching lenders. This will be an evolving To-do list. I'll aim to cross one thing off each week. Contact Lender A -- I tried a few weeks ago, then they recently tried back... I'll get in touch with them during week 1, then we'll see what's next regarding if I qualify vs. what I need to do to qualify Research realtors/companies TBD
  2. Edit: New goals I'm putting weight loss above everything else. It was the reason I started this journey, and I'm just done being overweight. This is gonna suck. I'm going to be tired. I'm hoping to have to give up some things I enjoy. But it's time to fix it. Goal 1: No caffeine This used to be getting up early... I've changed it to no caffeine because caffeine is what causes my late, ass dragging mornings. +1 point each day Goal 2: Zazen Zazen routine: Yoga/stretch Zazen >= 10 min. every morning Goal 3: Eat paleo, plan and budget +1 each day of paleo. +1 stick to grocery shopping plan. +1 good prep/plan Goal 4: 100,000 steps per week. Most work days I get between 12 and 20k. I just want to make it so I get more in in the weekend. What I will do is start going for morning walks around the neighborhood on weekends to get top 84k... maybe even a jog. +1 point / 10k steps LUYL1: No alcohol until I hit 199.9 pounds. Draining my wallet and bloating my gut. I have to give it up. LUYL2: Get a tech cert. 1) Save for it. 2) Study for it. Sidequests: Go to the damn gym +1
  3. I've been challenging with the druids... ... focusing learning what's best for my mind and body I've learned a few things. 1) being mindful is central to my health and fitness journey 2) eating paleo calms my cravings and is delicious and makes me lose weight 3) I need to lift, stretch, and generally move more 4) I need more money to live like I wanna live 5) playing guitar fires me up and motivates me... hence heavy metal themed challenge This challenge is all about returning to the heavy metal shit, the barbells and the music, that drives me... but also bringing with me the senses of taking care of myself and managing stress etc, that I learned over in druid town. Goal 1: Manage Stress on the Road I said it in my last two challenges, mindfulness and my zazen practice will be at the center of all my challenges. I actually managed to sit in zazen (formal Zen mediation) for 44 days straight in the last couple months. But I've fallen off that wagon and need to get back on again. I'm also planning to go on a Zen meditation retreat sometime this year. Paired with zazen is a little yoga routine that I'm doing to improve my lotus position and posture that is really useful for keeping my legs and hips limber. I also cut out (nearly) all caffeine for 30 days straight last challenge. That has been massively helpful with my sleep patterns, stress levels, and mindfulness. Do zazen and stretching/yoga daily. Avoid caffeine. Goal 2: Don't Put the Cucumber in Your Pants. Eat It! I started eating paleo in the middle of last challenge after about of month of trying vegetarianism... paleo is better. The main problem with being vegetarian is there are too many carbs and I tend to binge on those. In just two weeks I've watched my carb cravings subside to nothing. I've lost 7-8 pounds and my stomach is less bloated. I poop twice a day with no effort. And I'm more satisfied with my meals. I even fasted yesterday without even blinking at it. Eat paleo. Goal 3: Looks are more important than sounds This is the big one. I need to get back into going to the gym regularly. My diet is shaping up, but I need to exercise. I get a lot of activity at work, but I want to work on shaping up and gaining strength and endurance. Go to the gym twice a week. LUYL1: Be My Own Manager. I've got 4 job applications for promotions at Amazon (where I currently work as a Tier I warehouse grunt). The highest one is a level 4 programmer job and I've got a phone interview on Friday. If I were to get it, it would be a huge influx of income, and I'd have to hit the books to catch up, and I'd have to manage the new money coming in. Pursue job opportunities, gain skills, manage income. LUYL2: Don't Miss Rehearsals I also started seriously playing my guitar last challenge. It used to be all I did in high school, at great expense to grades and social interactions... I got really good. But then during college I put a lot more energy into school, and in grad school I almost never played. I thought a lot of music that I used to know was lost to me. But since I started playing seriously again... well at one point it literally all came flooding back to me. Once I woke up all that dormant musical and muscle memory, I just started playing guitar solos I thought I'd forgotten, and could remember songs again. This really picked up my spirits and I've noticed far fewer of the negative thoughts that used to bother me and put my mood in the toilet. I just feel happier because I play the guitar again. But I need to maintain my skills, and improve my technique and expand my repertoire. Practice guitar drills daily. Learn a new song each week.
  4. Another challenge is here and once again I'm building it around my mindfulness practice. I decided that for 2017 I'm renewing my commitment to my practice of Soto Zen Buddhism, which has been on and off for about a decade now. The practice centers on daily zazen (sitting meditation) and mindfulness practice throughout the day. This practice has in recent months been helping me re-center and rebuild my life and has proven effective with controlling my mood and depression, hunger, and is currently helping me reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption. Plus it is really helping me better appreciate every moment and live more fully. I have two goals for the year related to this. The first is to explore the different Sanghas (buddhist communities/churches) in/near Indy. The second is to go to a seshin (meditation retreat) which is usually 3-5 days of just meditation, work, eating, and sleeping. So this challenge is about improving my zazen practice and endurance, and using mindfulness to improve my health, fitness, and life in general. Goal 1: Zazen Sit in "lotus" or seiza for meals at home. Spending more time in a criss legged sitting posture should help me increase my flexibility and endurance in zazen. I also need to: Maintain daily zazen practice (@least 10 min) Do stretches before zazen Do one long session (40+ min) once a week Side quests: Caffeine causes scatterbrainededness, and alcohol diminishes awareness. So... 1) No caffeine for 30 days 2) No alcohol for 30 days These will be ongoing, resetting after failure until I achieve all 30 days on both. Reward: I'll buy a French press for single servings of coffee afterward. Goal 2: Nutrition Here are some dietary observations I've accumulated. Meat: Makes emotions more intense, especially red meat. To little interferes with sleep. I need to experiment more with fish. Grains: wheat/gluten are fine, a are oats and rice. Barley and rye cause bloat/gas/discomfort. Dairy: Milk and lots of whey/milk protein causes gas/bloat/discomfort. Eating high quantities of dairy send to cause mild seeking and mucus formation in the throat and nasal passes and overall puffiness. Soy: Is fine with me. Legumes: canned and pressure cooked are fine, but otherwise cause gas/bloat/discomfort. Nuts/sees: limit to small handfuls. To much causes constipation and bloat. Peanuts are mildly irritating. Tubers: white potatoes cause more fullness but are mildly irritating. Sweet potatoes do not. Sugar: Every time i eat a sugary snack/soda/candy/dessert i feel fatter at the end of the day. Literally, my stomach seems fuller and more jiggly. In light odd these observations I'll focus on the challenges that are most difficult to surmount. Track meat consumption vs. sleep quality I'll just be jotting firm days i eat meat on my calendar and noting my sleep quality each morning. Limit dairy and sugar I'm going to make conscious decisions to not consume or substitute these in various recipes. Eat more root vegetables Eat a tuber everyday. Replace some carbs with more tuber veggies. Buy more fresh tubers at the store, and try new ones out ones I've not had in a while. Goal 3, Exercise: Break a Sweat 6 days per week. Barbell, treadmill, kettlebell, bodyweight... 30 min., 20 min., 5 min.? No matter. Just break a sweat. I also want to go to the actual gym at least once a week, i am paying for membership after all. LUYL_1: Manage finances Spend one hour a week with my mind on my money. Making spreadsheets, planning a budget, going through receipts, clip coupons, read about saving and paying off debt, retirement plans, investments. Whatever. One hour. I currently don't really think about money until there's a problem... and that's why I'm in debt and living paycheck to paycheck. Sidequest: have enough extra cash lying around at the end of cheyenne to buy a cable modem and wifi router. LUYL_2: Art Paint and complete at last one painting each week. Grading: Basically I've got my dry erase board calendar set up. Every time I do a thing for a goal, including side quests etc. I make a doodle or dot on the calendar. If the calendar is reasonably congested with squiggles and dots while i contemplate the progress I've made and the challenges i faced during the 1+4 weeks... Cool. If it's empty, not cool.
  5. During the last challenge, I realized how important mindfulness is for my success. When i make it a priority, everything else seems to fall in line. It also got me reflecting on a number of my fitness choices, goals, and results since I joined NF and before. For this challenge I'm going to give a few things from the past another shot with a strong dose of mindfulness. Actually, many of these will be gearing up for the next challenge. Goal 1: Phase Out the Meat WHAT!!! I know right. Blasphemy. The truth is, during my two or three best attempts at weight loss that got the best results I was practically a vegetarian. I never fully committed to it, but there were long stretches with good health i can remember where i might have only eaten meat once a week. Another reason for this is the cost of meat. I need to be cutting expenses. And reducing overall consumption means i might actually be able to afford to support local, organic, pasture-raised, etc. I'm not against killing animals for food, but i do prefer that they had decent lives before they were on my plate. But I've got to get the protein i need. The one time when i didn't eat meat for like three months and was damned miserable, I'm sure I didn't get enough protein. Basically, for this challenge I will but no more meat. I will finish what's in the fridge and start to cook more with vegetarian foods... eggs and milk etc. are fine. I'm sure as hell not going vegan. That and shoot for a minimum of 110g protein/day. Edit: I'm going to eat vegetarian (ovo-lacto) for dinner every day during this challenge. Also, I will not add any more meat to my kitchen. Never mind the protein goal. I'm sure I'll hit it. Goal 2, Exercise Feeling healthy to me means being strong but flexible and balanced, and it feels good not getting winded easily. In the past I've done best balancing all three. Each week: 3 lifts 30 min. yoga 20 min. cardio Goal 3, Mindfulness Need I repeat myself? 10 min. of zazen, first thing in the morning daily. Keep a mindfulness journal by logging one mindfulness experience daily. LUYL: Pull the f***ing trigger Job search stuff. I need to move on and/or up to something soon. I have to do at least one of the following: 1) Apply for a manager job at Amazon 2) Register to take the A+ certification exam 3) Take a big step toward becoming a teacher... I've been thinking about this again... I might register for an exam, or apply...something. In any case, one of these represents a commitment to move on.
  6. I'm an adult child of 1) an alcoholic and 2) a chronic over-eater. This has left me with no real idea of how to handle stress (and I'm under ALOT of it right now ... see prior threads .....) other than by using alcohol or food as self-soothers. My upbringing left me with this BIG self-destruct button that is ALWAYS waiting to be pushed when things get rough. This challenge is going to focus on taking apart that self-destruct mechanism. Realistically, I won't be able to completely trust that it is gone for good. But I can at least pack it off again for a while so it is not RIGHT THERE saying, "Push me ... you know you want to....." Cue the Mission Impossible Theme ...... Goal #1 - DisARM the button!! (+2 STR, +1 STA) For my daughter's wedding, I'm going to wear a lovely capped sleeve dress. So, by October 9th, I want to have really nice-looking arms. I have made some nice progress toward that goal, but I'll keep working it hard for the next two challenges. Hence .... upper body workout 3 x per week. Grade by simple counting workouts and divide by 18 for a percentage. I'll post the workout below as soon as I work it out. Goal #2 - Lose 3 pound by counting calories (+3 CON) I have been using LoseIt to count calories and keep protein high. I'll revisit IIFYM to get a recommendation on number of grams of protein and number of calories per day. While I hate counting calories, I realize that I don't yet have a good sense of how much I can eat in a day and lose or maintain weight. And if I'm not counting, I can get into mindless eating in a hurry. Grading ... simple .... one point CON for each pound I lose from 168.2 lbs. Goal #3 - Zazen meditation DAILY (+2 WIS, +1 CON) As a preventative measure, I'll meditate daily and grade it by counting days divided by 42 for a percentage. In the past, meditation has been very helpful, and I regret getting out of the habit. It's worth the 10 to 20 minutes!!! Goal #4 - Use a destressing technique from the list daily (+3 CHA) In addition to the meditation daily, I'll pick one of the items from the list below - at least daily. I'll either use my D&D dice or random.org to pick one. I'm a much nicer and more effective person if I have my stress under control. Grade it by counting days divided by 42 for a percentage. Goal #5 - Remove major stressors and barriers (+3 WIS) This one is really hard ..... There are some things that have badly affected my ability to cope for the past year. 1) We've been trying to find jobs in our home town. It hasn't worked yet, and we've been living apart, which really stresses me out. So, we need to buy a house near hubby's work and sell our current house. These are stressful events in their own right, but I think it is worth it in the long run. I already have job interviews in the area where we are house hunting .... a big improvement over our current predicament. 2) I've been having a really hard time with under or unemployment. I don't do well as a housewife, and so I'm working at finding a professional job. Got nibbles already and feel much better about myself already!!!! 3) This is really, really, really hard. We need to put our dog down. I've been nursing her along for the past year, but she's not comfortable. And I have to come to grips with that and let her go. But it will also reduce my stress alot once we get past that point ... this week or next probably. She's licking all 4 limbs raw, and I can't see keeping her in a cone for the indefinite future. Grading .... one point per objective complete.
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