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Gemma

Gemma Re-Boots the Whole Dang System

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Hey, y'all! Hi. 

 

I think (knocks frantically on wood) that we are, for the moment, kind of over it with the destructive weather events and significant life stressors. 

 

Post-lightning-strike, post-Florence, post-Michael situation:   We have considerable damage to the house, more than we realized at first, but it is livable and fixable and our homeowner's insurance company helped us as much as they could as quickly as possible. With everyone else in the region so devastated, many much more than us, and then Florida needing even more critical help just a few weeks later, I have absolutely zero complaints about how well we were treated. The claim is now resolved, and repairs start next week.      

 

On top of the home repair sitch, we are implementing a new curriculum in one of the schools I manage, which effectively triples my workload. And the hubs and I had to move out of the master bedroom - so we are living in the guest room, most of my clothes are in the Hobbit Hole, but all my shower/skincare/makeup stuff is still in the Master Bath ... my routines are a bit disrupted.

 

NaNoWriMo is less than two weeks away and I'm a Municipal Liaison again this year.

 

I have not been to the gym in ... I don't exactly remember how long. I went once since Florence. Couple weeks ago.

 

And my digestion isn't working right. Common stress response for me, but it means that my foodz consumption has been, kind of, a lot of chicken broth, saltine crackers, and "now I'm feeling sorry for myself so I'll deal with the bloated discomfort" junk food. 

So - for this challenge, I'm gonna need to lean back into the basics. Eat decent food, pick up some iron, manage my stress, learn how to sleep. 

 

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Food

Track The Foods. I did that thing where you get your nutrition completely dialed in and it's all working great and you think "yay, now I don't have to worry about that anymore" ... has that ever worked for anyone? Not me! The wheels have completely fallen off. And I don't know if it is stress, or an actual medical thing, or what (I have a doctor's appointment next month) but lately I have been feeling very bloated and sometimes mildly nauseated after eating. So tracking should  1) help me be more conscious of what I am putting in my face and whether it is nourishing me or just temp-fixing a boredom or self-pity problem, and 2) help me pinpoint if I feel worse after particular foods or food types 

 

Input Power Challenge Goal: Track every bite through challenge period. I use MFP. Accountability post here at least 3x/week. 

Input Power Victory Threshold: Complete tracking at least 24 of the 28 challenge days. 

Input Power Loot: The Adventures of Tom Bombadil

 

 

Workout

I started off Hurricane Florence with a resolve to at least keep up with 3x/weekly home workouts (suspension trainer/bodyweight work). That lasted through the first week. The stress, the fatigue, the week without power (sleeping without no air conditioning when you are not acclimated is no joke, y'all), the constant vigilance against looters - frankly fitness was a low priority. I did do a fair bit of physical labor - fence repairs, tree cutting, and debris hauling mostly - but it was sporadic.  And now that I'm back to my mostly sedentary desk job, I have to pretty much start from scratch to re-establish the habit. 

 

I am not quite dumb enough to just jump back into my previous programming. Y'know, lest I die. Also, new curriculum implementation = seriously limited gym time. 

I'm starting back close where I was five years ago as a complete beginner, with Nia Shanks' "Minimalist 3x3" program. It's a ten-week program, all large compound movements, 3 exercises per workout (basically a Push/Pull/Legs scheme.) Focus - get in the gym and out of the gym in under an hour while building up basic strength in the main lifts.

 

Increase Hard Drive Capacity Challenge Goal: Actually go to the gym and do the thing three days a week for all four weeks. Post here for accountability. 

HD Capacity Victory Threshold: Complete 10 of 12 scheduled workouts.

HD Capacity Loot: Rings , so I can transition back into the NF Rings program that I had just begun to play with before le hurricane. 

 

 

Sleep

I am a lifelong insomniac, but there are things that help. If I do them. Hubs and I are setting up our regular mattress in the Hobbit Hole so I have a place to retreat to on my sleepless nights. Whether he is snoring, or I just can't shut down the brain, it helps if I can move to another room. Headspace just added a huge pile of "Sleepcasts" - basically guided imagery sleep meditations - that have helped a lot. My big problem now, new since the hurricane, is just not putting myself in bed and turning out the lights when I should. Being a NaNo ML has compounded the problem. I get caught up in reading - or sending - "just one more" e-mail or forum post or ... well, y'all know how that goes. 

 

Power Conservation Mode Challenge Goal: In bed with lights out by nine every night. 

Power Conservation Mode Victory Threshold: 23 of the 28 challenge days

Power Conservation Mode Loot: A new shade of fountain pen ink

 

 

OGSiP (Other Goals Still in Progress)

Having power and internet out for so long broke my streaks on Duolingo, YouVersion Bible, Headspace, and 4theWords. Insane situations with unexpected home repair expenses and travel have thrown our EveryDollar budget tracking and meal planning habits into chaos. Sad Gemma is sad. But we are rebuilding. Current status:

YouVersion: 3

Duolingo: 30

Headspace: 30

4tW: 29

EveryDollar budget and meal planning: having a (belated) midmonth budget and meal planning meeting with the hubs tonight to try to limit October's damage so we can be back on point for November.

 

Peripherals Challenge Goal: Just keep all that going. 

I'm not setting a victory threshold or loot for this, because I'm so attached to watching streak numbers go up I don't need an external reward. But the last day of this challenge coincides with my birthday (52 is the new 25, if you hadn't heard). Happy birthday to me  = once we move back into our bedroom I am making the trip to Ikea to buy my Hobbit Hole bookcases! 

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Happy to see you back!! 

 

giphy.gif

 

I'm glad to hearing you're fairing as best as possible under the circumstances! Is there anything specific we can do to help? Any development on your smart goals?

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Hi <waves frantically>!!!!  I'm super happy and excited to be back, even if I do feel like I'm basically starting from scratch. 

 

234433731_204f9ac286_z.jpg?zz=1

 

 

 

I just edited my post and put actual goals in it.

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On 10/20/2018 at 5:22 AM, Gemma said:

So - for this challenge, I'm gonna need to lean back into the basics. Eat decent food, pick up some iron, manage my stress, learn how to sleep. 

 

I am totally stealing this for my challenge. I need to get back to basics as well, for both similar and different reasons. My stress has been off the charts, but not because of hurricanes. 

 

I don't suppose you have a link to the minimalist 3x3 program, by any chance, do you?

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8 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

 

I don't suppose you have a link to the minimalist 3x3 program, by any chance, do you?

 

She isn't selling this specific one anymore (I bought it years ago), but all the basic principles that she built it with are covered for free in articles linked here - under  the "Strength Training Workouts" area she has links to her "Ultimate LLaG Workout Template" and "The Busy Woman's Guide to Strength Training." 

 

Nia specializes in the market of women who are busy with everyday life and can't spend 15+ hours/week in the gym, not so much competitive strength athletes. In fact she based a lot of her early work on the fact that the competitive body-building/powerlifting programming that was available at the time was a barrier to entry for many women, so a lot of her programming runs towards very basic push/pull/legs, multi-joint, get 'er done  structures. 

 

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4 hours ago, Gemma said:

Nia specializes in the market of women who are busy with everyday life and can't spend 15+ hours/week in the gym

 

What about 39 minutes per week? I recently read about an experiment in the New York Times, where they got intermediate lifters (men) to do similar programmes but with 5, 3, or just 1 set(s) of 7 exercises. They claim the men who only did 1 set per exercise gained just as much strength as the others (but less size). I'm a bit sceptical, but they write that just 13 minutes of training 3x per week can make you stronger. I'm not willing to test the hypothesis on myself at the moment, but I thought it was interesting. 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/12/well/move/in-a-hurry-try-express-weight-training.html

 

It also makes me think I don't know anything at all about programming, despite hours of reading and trying to figure it out for myself.

 

Anyway, best of luck with eat/sleep/stress/lifting. I'm still working on them, too :)

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Input Power: I tracked. It made me sad. I experienced the greatest amount of GI distress about two hours after eating a PB&J sandwich. I just recently re-fell in love with PB&J after finding Dave's Killer Bread. If it is necessary to give that up I will make a frowny face. 

1/24

 

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Increase Hard Drive Capacity: Well, I didn't do the thing, but I did a thing. Super-long boring story made much shorter - I did not work out first thing this morning because the Director invited me to participate in a phone conference about our next new curriculum implementation. Then I found other reasons to procrastinate. Lots. But when I came home I opened up Steve's e-mail about the 20 Minute Kettlebell workout, and I put on shorts and I did that. BEFORE I sat down and started random internet surfing/forum posting. It would have been so easy to just tell myself that I would do Tues/Thurs/Sat this week instead ... but I didn't. I committed to train today. (I wrote it in my BuJo so I had to do it.)

I'm totes counting it. 

1/10

 

Power Conservation Mode: I went to bed at 8:30 last night, lights out about 8:55 after reading. 

1/23

 

Peripherals: All streaks intact. Budget mid-month adjustment done. Meal planning ... eh, not so much. I know what the proteins will be through the rest of the week. I suck at planning for vegetables, so we usually just throw a salad together. But I'm bored with salad.

 

 

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Today's iOS update -

 

Input Power: I am reacting more positively to food. Don't know if this is the magick of tracking (I tend to make fewer unhealthful choices if I know I have to "confess" it to MFP) or if I legit had a mild stomach bug and it is clearing. Either way all good.

3/24

 

Increase Hard Drive Capacity: Silly but true excuse - I got it into my wee little brain that if I'm gonna commit to a 10-week program that is 3/week and I've promised myself M/W/F, I should wait to start it until a Monday. So, you know, workout one through workout three all happen in the same week.

***LAME!*** Yeah, I know.

But I still put on the gym clothes and went to the gym - I just did the kettlebell circuit again. Then since I felt like I didn't really hit my lats hard with the weight I chose (strugglebus for the OHPs but super easy for the swings and rows) I tacked on a few extra sets of inverted rows.

2/10

 

Power Conservation Mode: I have turned the lights out before 9 every night so far, even if I didn't actually get into bed before 8:45. So I've cut my fiction reading time super short. Eventually this will make me unhappy enough that maybe I get off the internet and up the stairs earlier.

 

Horrible insomnia Monday night - I forgot my evening magnesium and collagen cocktail, so that was part of it. Also hubs was feeling particularly snory, so I went into the other room - and found that the streetlight lights that room up really bad at night right through the cheap blinds. Long term the Hobbit Hole will need blackout curtains. Short term I need an eye mask.

 

Last night was better. Hubs took care of his sinuses and I took my supps.

3/23

 

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Peripherals: All streaks intact. Budget mid-month adjustment done, EveryDollar back on track.

 

Meal planning got a little better. I have veggie-related issues. It's not that I don't like 'em, per se, it's just that I generally only like 'em cooked in more time-consuming ways that I won't bother with on weekdays. Oven roasted anything, mashed cauli, these things take more minutes and dirty more dishes than I'm into.

 

But just because I'm bored with salads doesn't mean I don't like raw veggies. This was my "big DUH!" moment of yesterday. I stopped off at the grocery and bought stuff to make up Veggie SnakPaks for the rest of the week. Am now smacking myself hard in the forehead for how long I went without consuming vegetables because it was "too hard."

 

dce8b7c754710bc710d50c150122c264.jpg

 

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2 hours ago, Gemma said:

 

But just because I'm bored with salads doesn't mean I don't like raw veggies. This was my "big DUH!" moment of yesterday. I stopped off at the grocery and bought stuff to make up Veggie SnakPaks for the rest of the week. Am now smacking myself hard in the forehead for how long I went without consuming vegetables because it was "too hard."

 

 

 

It's such a bonus when you find a meal or snack that's super easy AND healthy AND you like making it. 

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On 10/22/2018 at 5:10 AM, Gemma said:

 

She isn't selling this specific one anymore (I bought it years ago), but all the basic principles that she built it with are covered for free in articles linked here - under  the "Strength Training Workouts" area she has links to her "Ultimate LLaG Workout Template" and "The Busy Woman's Guide to Strength Training." 

 

Nia specializes in the market of women who are busy with everyday life and can't spend 15+ hours/week in the gym, not so much competitive strength athletes. In fact she based a lot of her early work on the fact that the competitive body-building/powerlifting programming that was available at the time was a barrier to entry for many women, so a lot of her programming runs towards very basic push/pull/legs, multi-joint, get 'er done  structures. 

 

 

I just realized that I haven't thanked you properly for introducing me to Nia Shanks. I've been binge-reading her blog in the evenings, and there's a lot of great stuff here about nutrition, lifting, and other things that all indirectly link back to improved mental health. This is what I needed a couple of decades ago when I was starting to explore the possibilities of going to the gym, and had no idea how to tell good advice from bad. Since I was a young woman, I was unfortunately showered with lots of bad advice that I followed because I didn't know better at the time.

 

I've now bookmarked some of the articles so I can send them to girls/women who want me to give them beginner advice on lifting. And I'm definitely doing Lift Like a Girl dumbbell program on all future business trips. :) 

 

And, thank you.

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On 10/24/2018 at 11:37 AM, Gemma said:

But just because I'm bored with salads doesn't mean I don't like raw veggies. This was my "big DUH!" moment of yesterday. I stopped off at the grocery and bought stuff to make up Veggie SnakPaks for the rest of the week. Am now smacking myself hard in the forehead for how long I went without consuming vegetables because it was "too hard."

 

It me. I hate salad. Salads, for the most part, are just a whole lot of nope in RedStone land. I will eat raw cucumbers, carrots and cherry tomatoes by the handful tho...

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things seem to be coming up to speed for you! nice reboot

 

does your grocery store sell pre-washed and pre-cut veggies? mine aren't more expensive per pound and if they were a bit, it'd be worth the price to get rid of 30 mins of washing/cutting vegs. I dump a bag of brussels onto a foil-lined baking sheet and 15 mins later have roasted veg!

 

bags of spinach or kale are also easy to add to dinners and not time-consuming. 

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I also got curious and went to read Nia Shanks. Yay, it is good. The body image stuff really belongs in there with the fitness and health stuff. I definitely recognised her concept of trying to hate one's way to being thinner, as I tried that already. Oops. Gotta keep working on the mental stuff alongside the barbell stuff. 

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Sooo... this challenge period has been over for a few days, huh? Ooops.

tenor.gif?itemid=5012696

 

I did - nothing.

 

Not true, really. I've got my sleep pretty well managed for the moment, and all my daily routines are getting back to normal.

 

Master bedroom has all new flooring and drywall, we are still camping in the guest bedroom until we can get it sanded, painted, new baseboards, and a proper light fixture and then get our furniture all moved back in.

 

I haven't seen the inside of a gym in over a month.

 

Also tracking foods did not happen for more than three days, but I stopped feeling nauseated so that's good.

 

I am thrilled to hear that @scalyfreak and @Harriet have found value in Nia Shanks' work. She was my first introduction to the world of strength training*. If it weren't for her, if I had started with Mark Rippetoe or T-Nation, I would probably still be terrified of the gym and trying to convince myself that I don't hate jogging.

 

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday, my health is near perfect and my weight has not moved an inch, but I'm still a wee bit unhappy with it just because at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball (last Friday) I wore my dress from two years ago - and it was TIGHT. As in, 'my husband almost couldn't get it zipped' tight. I weigh the exact same poundage, but that weight has redistributed itself in ways that I do not prefer.

 

 I need to find a sustainable way to get back into movement practice, and honestly that may not be heavy lifting three-four days a week for the next few months while I juggle new curricula, fiction writing, and home "improvement" chaos. Ah, well, that is a problem for next challenge. Is it next challenge already? My tempus has really fugit-ed.

 

In other news, NaNoWriMo is going great, word-count-wise, slightly less great in the "I have some sort of clue where this story is going" sense. I'm cool with that, though. As the forever amazing Terry Pratchett put it, "The first draft is just you telling yourself the story." At this point I kind of figure that if I keep on tinkering with my worldbuilding and character backstories, an actual plot is bound to suggest itself someday. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

 

*I don't count the well-meaning Marine bodybuilding-bro-boy co-shirkers of my 20-years-ago self that used to bring me to the gym with 'em for "forearms and left pinky-toe" day or whatever. Great guys, perhaps a bit too inclined to believe whatever they read in Muscle and Fitness.

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Marine Corps Ball selfie - I’m totes happy with how I looked, had a great time, but you can see those spaghetti straps cutting into me like a poorly placed garrote. Pretty gown, but no longer a comfortable gown. Ah, well.

 

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Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

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awesome wrap up! i know you didn't do what you originally set out to do but you kept yourself afloat going. (terrible and too-soon pun) you and the hubs look gorgeous! hope you can find a new fancy dress replacement that's comfortable :) 

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50 minutes ago, CourtnieMarie said:

awesome wrap up! i know you didn't do what you originally set out to do but you kept yourself afloat going. (terrible and too-soon pun) you and the hubs look gorgeous! hope you can find a new fancy dress replacement that's comfortable :) 

 

Good puns are never too soon. Terrible ones even more so.

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2 hours ago, CourtnieMarie said:

awesome wrap up! i know you didn't do what you originally set out to do but you kept yourself afloat going. (terrible and too-soon pun) you and the hubs look gorgeous! hope you can find a new fancy dress replacement that's comfortable :) 

 

1 hour ago, Grumble said:

 

Good puns are never too soon. Terrible ones even more so.

 

Bad puns are the best puns. This is what I posted to my Facebook NaNo group today:

 

****

"I was looking for a Poe-etic way to say "hang in there, keep on writing," ... 

Okay, that was awful. Really, really bad. Welcome to bad pun season, y'all. #sorrynotsorry

quoth-the-raven-write-some-s-more-632819

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5 hours ago, Gemma said:

*I don't count the well-meaning Marine bodybuilding-bro-boy co-shirkers of my 20-years-ago self that used to bring me to the gym with 'em for "forearms and left pinky-toe" day or whatever. Great guys, perhaps a bit too inclined to believe whatever they read in Muscle and Fitness.

 

*posts panicked message to lifting message boards asking if neglecting my toe strength will lead to imbalances, injury, general weakness, cowardice, loss of chest hair and the fall of civilisation*

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5 minutes ago, Harriet said:

 

*posts panicked message to lifting message boards asking if neglecting my toe strength will lead to imbalances, injury, general weakness, cowardice, loss of chest hair and the fall of civilisation*

 

Yes. You will lose all your chest hair.

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