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Harriet's Year of Energy: Act I


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So I found Nerdfitness a while ago, and tried cleaning up my diet. I even started a challenge, but I didn't stick with it. Since then I've made some more changes. I discovered weightlifting, which I love. I tried different types of diets - cutting calories, cutting sugar, eating whatever the fuck I want because I'm a lifter now (lol, no). I tried adding healthy habits. But everything boils down to this: I have no energy. I am so easily exhausted. I went on a trip to an exciting city with my partner recently, and I didn't care about the amazing art deco buildings, interesting history, or scenic parks. All I felt was pain and exhaustion – the city was just a backdrop to these. I've lived like this for 18 years and I can't stand it any longer. This year is going to be the year of energy production, and all my quests will feed it. Of course, I also want to lose fat, increase my lifts, and do art and reading instead of zombifying myself in front of screens. But I can't do any of that if I'm dragging the wet parachute of fatigue and pain with me.

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SO! Onto the Quests!

Quest 1: Generate Energy with FOOD

I want to give the Taubes diet/cult a proper try, I have to interrogate every suspect in this investigation into my fatigue. I also want to fill up on protein for lifting and energy. So my goal is to get 25g protein at each of 4 meals/snacks per day, with no sugar or refined carbs. This quest is on medium difficulty because my partner has recently gone semi vegetarian, and doesn't tolerate beans well. I on the other hand, am trying to learn to love fish. Ugh. Lucky we both tolerate dairy.

Quest 2: Stop giving away sleep to the evil twins, caffeine & alcohol
I sleep badly, have for years. It's getting better slowly. I know that wine negatively impacts my sleep, but it's so delicious. Alas, it must come second to the year of energy. I will be drinking no wine, and no more than 2 teas or one coffee a day (I can have unlimited amounts of decaf tea... yay...)

 

Quest 2: Stop giving away sleep to the slightly naughty twins, screen time and rumination
I will go to bed by 11pm, and NOT ruminate or daydream in bed. I will meditate every night as soon as I hop into bed, which usually quiets my mind and helps me sleep.

Quest 4: Fight pain & exhaustion from bad posture
I've figured out that bad posture (anterior pelvic tilt) is causing foot and back pain, which is like a giant happy meal with extra fries for my fatigue. I will do my posture fixing exercise regime every day. It includes planks, blue bridges, side abductions and front hip stretches , increasing the intensity/reps/time. I've already started and it's already helping.
 

It's started. The year of energy has begun. 

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Great goals, Harriet! I feel you on the energy side of things, I've been like this for a very long time. I did get some hormone labs done back when I was pregnant and there were some indications of hypothyroidism, and I plan to look into that as well at some point during the next few weeks. Apparently it could be the source of lethargy/weight gain/depression type of issues as well.

 

I digress. I love your sleep-related goals, and I must admit, it's an issue for me as well. Maybe in the next challenge I'll tackle that :)

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Being chronically exhausted sucks!!!! I'm 100% supporting you Harriet!

Let's help you get some energy!

 

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Please, be compassionate towards yourself as well!

Before my Hashimoto's was stabilised I was constantly tired and, even after being diagnosed, it was hard not to blame myself for all the symptoms like sleeping late, having no motivation, not enjoying socialising and not feeling up to do those things that I would normally have loved (like the trip you described).

 

Your goals are great but also super ambitious! Let us know when you need a little extra motivation to keep you on track ;)

 

 

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Dancing Sylph - Level 9 Monk/Druid

Former Captain of the Nerdians of the Fitalaxy

Current Challenge

"E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle" - We came forth, and once more saw the stars, Dante

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Thanks, Bouchra! Yeah, I actually have had depression for 18 years, so there's a handy explanation for my tiredness, no other explanation needed or sought by my doctors. I think my bloods came back normal, not that I understand what they tested for. But seriously, I'm thinking maybe modern lifestyles are just energy-sapping, and some people might be more sensitive... or even if it's just the depression, I can still increase my energy within my more limited potential through lifestyle changes.

 

Thanks Nol, that is a timely reminder. Today I was feeling very ashamed that I don't have a real full-time job. I do beat myself up for not wanting to do things, or doing them but not enjoying them, especially when it impacts my partner. It's so hard to let an invisible illness take the blame – I make a much better target for hitting with the blame stick because I'm large, visible, and slow moving.

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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So, today was a food win. I cooked 4 eggs & spinach in butter for breakfast, had cottage cheese & fresh figs for lunch, and a tempeh green curry with broccoli, coconut cream, fresh basil and kaffir lime leaves for dinner....

 

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...this is what I found when I searched for a green curry gif, lol.

 

Anyway, It's the first time I've ever eaten tempeh and it turned out very well! Maybe being flexitarian won't be so bad! I also had a protein shake and some cheese sticks. There's nothing in my challenge about reducing fat or calories.

I also win on the wine and caffeine front. Going to do my stretches now, but I'm not looking forward to the exercises after doing deadlifts and about 70 minutes of walking. Oh well, deadlifts may be awesome but they won't fix my posture by themselves. 



 

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Your food sounds awesome!!!

 

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Depression is definitely more than enough to explain chronic fatigue! Sorry to hear that you've been suffering for so long :(

I guess it can be coupled with other conditions that worsen the symptoms, like chronic fatigue syndrome for example (for which there is no test), but all that matters is that you take care of yourself! :)

 

Well done on your first day!!

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Dancing Sylph - Level 9 Monk/Druid

Former Captain of the Nerdians of the Fitalaxy

Current Challenge

"E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle" - We came forth, and once more saw the stars, Dante

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Today has been a bit of a food mess. We did a hike that was well beyond my energy levels, and I was crazy tired and hungry all day afterwards, so I ate lots of snacks instead of a proper lunch. It was cottage cheese, string cheese, loads of fruit, whey protein shakes with milk.

 

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Hmmm, I'm probably going to turn into a dairy cow if carry on like this. Still, I hit my protein goal and had no refined carbs/sugar. Also, my breakfast was eggs and veg, and my dinner is fish and veg. And I can make further changes next challenge if need be. My most important goal is energy production, not fat loss. 

I did my exercises. Spirits of the earth, why are bodyweight exercises harder and more sucky than barbell exercises? Lift my own bodyweight in iron? Yes, awesome.

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Do 15 measly bodyweight exercises on the floor? No, death from exhaustion.

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If anyone can explain this, please do. 

Wine & caffeine ban going well. I'm already noticing a difference in my sleep, I think. We'll see what happens. I painted today for the first time in forever... maybe I'll automatically do more interesting things instead of vegging out in front of the screens if I just sleep okay and get some energy back. 

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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I'm rooting for you in the quest to reduce fatigue! That's a really tricky one, but you have so many good ideas for tackling it. I've had terrible fatigue a couple times in my life, and both times I had to find the cause myself, because I found most doctors don't really care if you're tired or not. Once it was chronic severe depression that I'd refused to treat too long, and the other time it was a surprising culprit: sleep apnea! It turns out young, non-overweight women can have sleep apnea, but it's rarely diagnosed because doctors are only aware of men's sleep apnea. Men's sleep apnea usually involves snoring, but women usually wake up before snoring--and wake up again and again all night. I thought I had insomnia because I could remember being awake for so much of the night. But it was really apnea. (Compare that to a male friend of mine, who thought he was sleeping well all night because he only remembered the sleeping bits--not the loud snoring and waking bits! Why do I always remember the bad bits?)

 

When I finally got a sleep study, I had fallen asleep while driving countless times and I hadn't had a decent night's sleep in several years (test results said I was waking up an average of 45 times per hour). Now that I know more about sleep apnea, I think my great-grandmother had it too. Everyone always said she had insomnia her whole life, but she may have just been waking up every minute like I was. I'm grateful I finally got a diagnosis and got treated--when I look back on those years of exhaustion, I don't know how I managed to survive.

 

I hope you can find some answers. I'm following your journey!

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"Believe that a further shore is reachable from here." --Seamus Heaney

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19 hours ago, Lady Amezan said:

I found most doctors don't really care if you're tired or not.

Thanks! 

 

Yes. It's too nebulous for them to diagnose and address, so they don't. One doctor told me she didn't want to diagnose me with chronic fatigue syndrome, because it was just a "basket" people put themselves in which allows them to make excuses for themselves. Okay, but how do I get less tired, Doctor Helpful McHelpyface? 

Your sleep apnea story is amazing... I knew it existed but I had no idea it could be so sneaky!!! I'm planning to tackle the obvious suspects first though. Honestly, my extremely sedentary lifestyle and poor sleep habits are standing at the crime scene, each holding a knife, with sinister red stains all over their flannel shirts. The bad posture is skulking behind them, failing to hide a suspicious blunt object behind its back. Even if there are other, more exotic causes to investigate later, getting from seriously unfit so seriously fit is going to help me bucketloads anyway, right? For my later challenges I might look into things like getting my vitamin D and iron/B12 tested, and other fine tuning. 

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Alright!!! I ate all the protein today! I've had no alcohol for a few days, and no excessive caffeine. I might have eaten a small amount of halva (tahini based sweet) that we bought at a super fancy place in New York, but it was expensive and special, and now it's gone there's no replacement. All other meals have been protein/fat/vegetables. 

 

I also walked bout 70 minutes with focus on good posture (to uni and back), and did squats (85lb), bench (75lb) and pull-ups (heavily assisted). I also FINALLY got my husband into the gym and showed him how to do said exercises. He's going to get fit and live forever. 

 

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I still have to do my floor exercises. Good grief, they are difficult and unpleasant after a day of walking & stuff. Why did I sign up? How soon will I be fixed so I don't have to do them again??? 

Sleep has been going well. The meditation plus lack of caffeine and alcohol mean I'm sleeping much more soundly than before. Soon, I will have enough energy to take over the world. 
 

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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My peanut tofu experiment was a success. Mix up peanut butter, minced garlic, minced kaffir lime leaves, minced ginger, lemon juice & soy sauce (not too much soy sauce!). Thin with water to make awesome.

 

Stir fry tofu until golden (to achieve goldenness not burning/boiling: pat with paper towels to remove moisture & use plenty of oil). Add capsicum, then bok choy ends, then bok choy leaves. Mix in awesome sauce. Eat. 

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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15 hours ago, Harriet said:

My peanut tofu experiment was a success. Mix up peanut butter, minced garlic, minced kaffir lime leaves, minced ginger, lemon juice & soy sauce (not too much soy sauce!). Thin with water to make awesome.

 

Stir fry tofu until golden (to achieve goldenness not burning/boiling: pat with paper towels to remove moisture & use plenty of oil). Add capsicum, then bok choy ends, then bok choy leaves. Mix in awesome sauce. Eat. 

 

THAT SOUNDS SO DELICIOUSSSSSS

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Forever Respawning Rebel

CURRENT CHALLENGE

Previous challenges: 01, 02

"Just sitting here on the corner of awesome and bombdiggity..." - unknown

 

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Did the exercises & the meditation & sleep yesterday. No wine nor excess caffeine. But damnit those bodyweight exercises are hard, especially after doing other forms of exercise. Now that my glutes are activating when I walk, squat, and deadlift, maybe I can do fewer glue bridges? Or do less of everything on days with other exercise? Maybe I'm just doing too much. Because there are 4 exercises, with three sets each, but two of the exercises are single-sided, that makes 18 sets. Yuck. So tired. Maybe I can do the stretches and planks every day, but alternate the side-clams and the single leg glute bridges. 

 

Protein & no-sugar-no-refined carbs going well. I found a butcher that sells 100% grass fed beef. I bought a tiny piece of the most expensive tenderloin, and am going to eat it for breakfast one day while my increasingly meat-averse husband eats the pony food (oats). Here in the USA they sell chicken thighs with the bones already taken out! Yay! But the skin is gone, boo! Anyway, tonight I'm pan frying some boneless chicken legs and asparagus, and serving them with a compote made of fresh peaches, maybe a bit of honey and a dash of lemon (I hereby stipulate that a small amount of honey is okay if it belongs to an otherwise challenge-compliant dinner) with fresh oregano, and roasted salted pistachios. Oh, and maybe I'll boil the japanese yam I bought at the shop (only a small amount since I don't want too much carb). I think it is similar to sweet potato. It's purple. like this:

 

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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9 hours ago, Harriet said:

Oh, and maybe I'll boil the japanese yam I bought at the shop (only a small amount since I don't want too much carb). I think it is similar to sweet potato. It's purple. like this:

 

 

 

That's what all the sweet potatoes look like here in Korea! People eat them as a snack all the time--they taste great and they're small enough that just one is a snack rather than a meal (I love US sweet potatoes, but often I can't eat an entire one).

 

All of your food descriptions sound incredibly good, especially the peanut tofu but also the meat, even though I'm mostly vegetarian. You put together some good flavors. I hope the posture and sleep stuff keeps going well! (Ah, I love sleep.)

 

 

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"Believe that a further shore is reachable from here." --Seamus Heaney

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Oh my god! So much has happened, where was I?? :D

You are doing so, so well girl!

 

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Also, please keep using so many cat gifs, and more! 8D

I love the purple sweet potatoes (well, there's also the ones that are entirely purple even inside, but my favourite are those that are yellow inside). They also miraculously grow them in Southern Europe, yay! How did you like them? I find that the texture is less watery than the orange sweet potato.

 

I hope this challenge helps you improve your overall well being.

Better sleep is for sure N°1 in the quest to feel better! (for anybody!)

And if you do have underlying issues, better nutrition, better sleep, etc. = less inflammation, better mental health and better ability for your body to bounce back, so it's definitely positive even if it might not solve everything!

 

Take care! You're doing awesome!

 

 

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Dancing Sylph - Level 9 Monk/Druid

Former Captain of the Nerdians of the Fitalaxy

Current Challenge

"E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle" - We came forth, and once more saw the stars, Dante

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11 hours ago, Lady Amezan said:

All of your food descriptions sound incredibly good, especially the peanut tofu but also the meat, even though I'm mostly vegetarian. You put together some good flavors.

 

Thank you! I started learning to cook a couple of years ago, after finding nerdfitness and getting super fed up with the weight I'd gained at uni. Before that we ate a lot of pasta with sauces out of jars

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I'm still learning, but I've improved a lot. 

 

7 hours ago, Nol said:

You are doing so, so well girl!

 

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Wheee! Thanks for the Patrick! I feel so motivated!!! I might even do something active this arvo despite being super tired.

 

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6 hours ago, Exylem said:

Your challenge isn't easy, but you are doing great! Keep it up! :)

 

Thanks! I love getting encouragement from other nerds, it's helping me stay a bit stricter. My challenge is hard-ish, but not too hard as I'm not starting totally from scratch. I was eating lots of no-sugar no-refined-carbs meals before, but went off track because travel/moving/lifting-hunger/excuses.

 

Okay, so I couldn't find a gif of a cat dressed as Charles Xavier, so all I have to offer is this cute face:

 

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Did all the things. Even a walk. Went to sleep. Then was woken at 5am by husband and didn't get straight back to sleep. Sad. 

 

So, does anyone else deadlift? Why are there some days when a weight feels fine, and other days I feel like I'm going to snap in half? Today was a might-snap-in-half-day. I'm only lifting 140 - just under bodyweight. One day I want to be like Staci and lift MOAR HUNDREDS of pounds... also maybe this, I dunno...

 

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...but I can't really see how I get from here to there. Sigh. Anyways, at least I got to practice the mixed grip on my last set. It's new to me, and feels weird. Practice makes slightly better! 

 

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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So. It's the weekend, and I have to decide how to deal with wine and junk food. I think I'll keep going zero alcohol for the first half of the challenge – I want to at least know what it feels like. Maybe I'll add wine just once a week in the second half. And I think one dodgy carbohydratious meal a week will be fine. I'm new to the area and want to try the famous pizza place that my friend recommended, after all. Woooo, looking forward to my pizza. Or burger. Whatever Sunday brings. 

 

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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1 hour ago, Harriet said:

Did all the things. Even a walk. Went to sleep. Then was woken at 5am by husband and didn't get straight back to sleep. Sad. 

 

AWESOME SAUCE for doing all the things. I too got woken up at 5 am from my zombie dog that needed to go outside urgently. On a Saturday!! Le sigh.

 

I dabbled a bit in deadlifting but I just suck at making it to the gym. I think fluctuating energy levels are totally normal. I have the same when running, sometimes I could run along happily as if I was in the cast of Baywatch, other times each step feels like climbing Everest.

 

And yes to cheat days. I think it's super important to allow yourself some time off and enjoy that Pizza. One Pizza is not going to undo all the good work you've done for the rest of the week! 

 

Rock on!

 

Forever Respawning Rebel

CURRENT CHALLENGE

Previous challenges: 01, 02

"Just sitting here on the corner of awesome and bombdiggity..." - unknown

 

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1 hour ago, Harriet said:

Did all the things. Even a walk. Went to sleep. Then was woken at 5am by husband and didn't get straight back to sleep. Sad. 

 

29 minutes ago, Mera said:

I too got woken up at 5 am from my zombie dog that needed to go outside urgently. On a Saturday!! Le sigh.

 

I feel your pain.

I have a 3-year-old who tends to get out of bed in the middle of the night to crawl between Mommy and Daddy, waking both up at random times during the night. This happens at least 5 times each week.

And I started using the SleepCycle alarm clock to wake up gently this week. Every time it has gone off and I was slowly becoming awake, I've been startled awake by the missus poking me in the ribs, urging me to turn off my alarm... :P

 

29 minutes ago, Mera said:

And yes to cheat days. I think it's super important to allow yourself some time off and enjoy that Pizza. One Pizza is not going to undo all the good work you've done for the rest of the week! 

 

It's not cheating. It's treating yourself for the good work you've done. ;)

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20 hours ago, TimovieMan said:

And I started using the SleepCycle alarm clock to wake up gently this week. Every time it has gone off and I was slowly becoming awake, I've been startled awake by the missus poking me in the ribs, urging me to turn off my alarm... :P

 

 

Haha, yes I've been using a daylight alarm clock to ease myself out of sleep. My husband was NOT a fan of my constant snoozing (sometimes for up to an hour) so I hope this will help...

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Forever Respawning Rebel

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What's the sleep cycle alarm? And the daylight clock? I have heard of apps that wake you when you're at a light stage of sleep to help avoid grogginess. Is that it? Is it any good?

Anyway, I had a burger and some fries today, and half a cupcake. They weren't as good as I'd imagined, actually. Sigh, oh well. My no sugar no refined carbs cooking is not actually that bad, and I even enjoy my protein powder – it tastes like a slightly weird milkshake – and the shop nearby has affordable fresh figs, so I have some things to look forward to regardless.

 

I've been keeping up with my posture exercises every day, but lowered the volume a bit so it doesn't drive me crazy. I've been designing meals to get at least 100g protein per day, sometimes more like 120-140. I've been meditating to help me fall asleep, and have been getting a lot more sleep as a result. Alas, I still feel tired. Oh well, nothing for it but to keep trying. Didn't work? More of the same! 

 

On 9/22/2018 at 4:37 PM, TimovieMan said:

 

I have a 3-year-old who tends to get out of bed in the middle of the night to crawl between Mommy and Daddy, waking both up at random times during the night. This happens at least 5 times each week.

 

 

OMG Timovie, I hope the waking at random times doesn't last forever. Parents still get to sleep eventually, right? At some stage? 

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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