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It's winter time!
 
bundle up a christmas story GIF
 
A time to reflect on the past year, and where we go from here. And fittingly, it's also eight months -- nearly to the day -- since I hit the respawn button on my physical health, and seven months since I started doing NF challenges.
 
So, here I've sat for the last three days, reflecting on my goals over the past two-thirds of a year, and poring over my old notes. I figured it was time to really plan out not just a thoughtful challenge, maybe with a new direction to bring me into the new year; but really plot out where I want to go in the next six months or year.
 
... And then I look at the forums and realize we've got a three-week mini-challenge on our hands.
 
tenor.gif?itemid=18016539
 
So I guess I'm just gonna do some fun shit! And maybe polish some of the things I've already been working on.
 
Background: March 2020 to the present day FOLLOWS THUSLY: I quarantined. I lost some puppy fat (205-173 lbs). I restarted bodyweight strength training, injured my right shoulder, recovered, injured my left knee, recovered (mostly). I rejoined Seattle's biggest parkour organization, started taking classes again, and mostly maintained my weight. I learned as much about Chinese cooking as I reasonably could from books and Youtube. On Thanksgiving, I made a pear galette, and I rediscovered my love of pie. I am still working to catch the white whale of a goal I started with: a bar muscle-up. NOW YOU ARE CAUGHT UP.
 
Mini-Goal Time:
 
1) Make A Pie. We have three weeks, let's not go crazy with meal plans or anything. I know I'm tired of cooking crazy stuff, and after Thanksgiving, why flirt with cooking fatigue more than we already have? Let's just sit back, cradle a nice mug of tea, and break off a slice of whatever dessert we've decided will take us through the holidays.
 
I'm not yet sure what pie I want to make, but I'll figure it out, I'm sure. Maybe I can even avoid eating leftover pie for a week, and find a way to make it a tiny pie in a ramekin. That would be a lot of work for relatively few calories, but it could be fun, right?
 
2) Get On Top of Work. It's boring, but this is the one thing I struggled with last challenge. I had a whole system of structured breaks to battle my work-from-home fatigue, but ultimately I didn't wind up more productive than when I went in, and my inbox is pretty significantly backed up still. It's starting to show in my work performance, and I'm a little worried about potentially losing my work-from-home privileges if I don't run a tighter ship in December.
 
So, I'm giving myself until the end of the challenge to work my inbox -- not just email, but overall daily work tasks -- down to ZERO, so I'm not having to play catch-up or run late on any deadlines.
 
3) Bulk! I've spent the last six months basically just tracking my calories while eating at maintenance, waiting to get strong enough that I won't be wasting my time with a bulk. Finally, I think I'm ready... at least for a mini-bulk! I've bumped my daily calories to 3250 kcal/day after exercise, which is a +400 kcal surplus over maintenance; and I'm going to maintain that for a total of four weeks. All I have to do to win at this challenge is hit my calorie goals.
 
4) Just keep pluggin' away at workouts, mobility, parkour, etc. I've been doing a good job with my strength training, adding back in the vertical pushing and pulling work that used to be harder on my shoulder. I've also been working on my hip mobility to finally quash my nagging knee issues. I don't have any big milestones coming up within the next three weeks, and I'm not looking to push myself super hard; I'm going to just keep going with my strength training, with mobility work on my rest days, and with tracking my daily sleep to make sure my recovery is on point. No need to grade this goal, it's just a reminder to keep track of the things I already do.
  
BONUS GOAL: Learn ONE SONG on guitar. Just one! After years of gathering dust, I finally got my childhood guitar repaired and it's in great working condition again... but it's been ages since I practiced, and to say I know how to play guitar would now be a hell of a stretch. If I don't want it to start gathering dust again, I need a goal. I have a Spotify playlist full of songs I've been meaning to try and learn. I'm not sure I'll post a recording (though @WhiteGhost has set a high bar on that front), but I just want to learn ONE SONG before the month is out.
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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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Ah right, totally forgot, beginning of a challenge means it's stats time!

 

Current Stats:
Height: 6’ 0”
Weight: 175 lbs
Age: 32
Waist Measurement: 28 5/8 inches
Bodyfat: 12.1% 
  
Current Progress Photos:
  
Spoiler

a6tYRJe4_o.jpg

 

  
Workout Log Legend
 
Spoiler
Since my training is primarily bodyweight, I use a notation that allows me to log a lot of variables. I log weight (if used), sets, reps, my Form quality, and my rate of perceived exertion. 
 
Form: 
a: high-quality form maintained throughout the set. No issues or very minor issues. 
 
b: Average/above-average form. No major issues, but maybe some smaller details need ironing out. (For example, didn't hit my chest to bar quite where I wanted in a pull-up, or didn't focus on scapular retraction as much as I could have in a row.)
 
c : Below average form. I did the exercise, but didn't do it right. Some possible major issues, though not severe safety issues.In chest-to-bar pullups, chest didn't hit the bar.
 
d: Poor form, major problems. This is probably a signal I should be ending the set early. If I didn't, I probably deserve chastisement. 
 
RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion):  I shamelessly stole Waldo's system for grading his RPEs, which he outlined in a blog post on StrengthUnbound.com (which sadly, no longer exists). Since it’s tough to find a good explanation on this anymore, here’s mine. 
  
My rating is based on Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion system, which is used sometimes in the sports training world. The idea is to track how close to failure I get in each set of an exercise. The original system is a 1-10 scale, but I took a page from the book of an old-hat member (Waldo) and chucked that out the window. The idea is that strength workout sets should nearly always go close to failure, if not to failure itself, so I have no interest in the first 6 numbers on the scale.
  
E: Easy work. Two or more reps left in the tank. This covers pretty much any number from 1-7. My goal is to only see this letter when I’m doing rehab/prehab exercises, or remedial work to build up joint strength, balance or form, like pistol prep work. Otherwise, I should be pushing harder.
  
X: Held one rep in the tank. Rep speed slowed noticeably, slight grind, but not at failure. This is where I try to keep most of my work, especially early in the workout.
  
Y: Hit failure or very close when I’m working out calm, may have stopped right before physically crapping out, but couldn’t have performed another rep without really amping myself up. Final rep was grinding and slow.
  
Z: Hit true failure and needed to pump myself up to do it — jumping, making noises, etc. Very slow, grinding final rep. 
 
/: denotes left/right reps in a set of a single-limb exercise. For example, 5/3 reps on a pistol squat means 5 reps on my left leg, 3 reps on my right. 
 
(): used for my eccentric exercises where I need to note both reps and time under tension. For example, a set of pull-up negatives shown as 3(6s) is 3 reps of 6 seconds each. 
  
There are other techniques that deserve extra notation, of course, but these are the ones I'm using in my current workout. 

 

 

Tuesday was the first workout of Zero Week, and marked some new improvements for me.

 

Workout Log 12/1/20
- Going In: Crappy sleep the night before. Figured today would not be my best workout.
 
Warmup
 
Pistol Squats: 5/5b-e
Pistol Squats +12lbs: 5/6a-x, 6/6a-x, 7/7b-x
- Squats were hard on the knees today, mainly because for some reason, my legs were really sore. I think it's all the new hip mobility I've been doing.
 
Incline Archer Rows: 6/6b-e, 6/6a-e, 7.5/7.5b-y
 
Wall HS Holds: 3sc-e, 12sb-x, 6sc-e
 
Pike Pushup Negatives: 3(5s)b-e
- Just one set, since this is a new exercise for me and I'm going carefully with my shoulder.
 
FG Ring Pullups: 9a-x, 9a-x, 10a-x, 8a-y
- I have no idea where all these new reps came from on the pullups, just two weeks ago I was struggling to complete 3x8! At this rate, I'll be at 3x10 within a couple weeks. Looks like adding a fourth set drove a lot of improvement here.
 
Stool Dips: 10a-e, 10a-e, 10a-x
- Dips have been a little hard on my elbows in the bottom ROM the last few workouts, so I was a little careful this time around.
 
L-Sits: 14sa-x, 15sa-x, 15sa-x
- I feel like I hit my stride with these during this workout. I always seem to struggle with a new L-sit variation, spend a week or two cleaning up my form, and then something clicks and all of a sudden I'm piling on lots of new time PRs. Hopefully it will be smooth sailing up to the next 1-leg variation.
 
Adv Tuck Dragon Flags: 9a-x, 9a-x
 
Y (6.5lbs): 13/13a-5, 13/13a-6
T (6.5lbs): 14/14a-5, 14/14b-7
 
Compression Work: 3x10s
Cooldown
 
- Started my bulk officially on Tuesday. As of Wednesday, I've got some brand-new levels of DOMS and I'm suddenly incredibly tired… all pretty normal for the start of a bulk.
  • Like 1

Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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3 hours ago, PaulG said:

10 pie recipes and not a single apple pie?  What's wrong with you? :P 

Dude Seriously GIFs | Tenor

 

3 hours ago, PaulG said:

I finally got my childhood guitar repaired and it's in great working condition again

First @juliebarkley and now you.  We're getting the band back together

How many +1 ' s for the blues brothers??! - GIF on Imgur

HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread    Bodyweight Exercise Library

The Arruvia Conspiracy Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, 89, 10 

Other Challenges: 12345, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28Mardi Gras [Current]

Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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4 hours ago, PaulG said:

I'm not sure I'll post a recording

tenor.gif?itemid=12225584

 

28 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

First @juliebarkley and now you.  We're getting the band back together

You know I haven't actually touched the fiddle yet, and once I do, it will be weeks before it doesn't sound like I'm murdering a cat, right?

Challenge:   0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33  

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7 hours ago, PaulG said:
 
I'm not yet sure what pie I want to make, but I'll figure it out, I'm sure. Maybe I can even avoid eating leftover pie for a week, and find a way to make it a tiny pie in a ramekin. That would be a lot of work for relatively few calories, but it could be fun, right?

Share the pie! Obvious solution that does not involve tiny ramekins! 

Main Quest: becoming a decent kettlebell lifter and a great coach

Current challenge: It's all future KB Girl's problem

my instagram - my gym's instagram

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Mmmm pie. Personally I don't see any difference in making a large pie and a tiny pie. You still put in the same amount of work, actually you put in less for a smaller pie. And since clearly you're not optimising for calories per unit work (because then you might as well chug oil) that argument doesn't even make sense in the first place. :) Sharing it is the optimal option though, if possible. (I really miss baking at the office. :( And not just because it gave me an excuse to spend the day in the kitchen.)

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On 12/2/2020 at 9:06 PM, x Valkyrie x said:

I am so here for pie! I discovered my love of pie and pie-making this year, too!  When I saw pie in your title, I knew I had to follow along.

 

Glad to have you! IT'S GONNA BE GREAT

 

Food Holiday GIF by Animation Domination High-Def

 

23 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

10 pie recipes and not a single apple pie?  What's wrong with you? :P 

Dude Seriously GIFs | Tenor

 

First @juliebarkley and now you.  We're getting the band back together

How many +1 ' s for the blues brothers??! - GIF on Imgur

 

IT WAS THE FIRST LINK! I'm no apple pie hater. And if we get the band back together, I'll sing backup on @deftona's Beauty School Dropout request...

 

23 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

tenor.gif?itemid=12225584

 

You know I haven't actually touched the fiddle yet, and once I do, it will be weeks before it doesn't sound like I'm murdering a cat, right?

 

Guitars sound only a tiny bit better when the hands that play 'em are effing up. Maybe we should do a NF Worst Instrument Sounds Medley... that would be a great soundtrack for the 2020 death knell.

 

19 hours ago, deftona said:

Following! And not just because I am hoping for a PaulG vs Whiteghost duelling banjos thing one day. 

 

I'll sign up for that TODAY

 

19 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Share the pie! Obvious solution that does not involve tiny ramekins! 

 

For a second I was like "who would I even give it to?" And then I realized I DO see a few people semi-regularly, so sharing COULD be an option... unless it's a lemon meringue pie. Then it's all going down the hatch.

 

16 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Mmmm pie. Personally I don't see any difference in making a large pie and a tiny pie. You still put in the same amount of work, actually you put in less for a smaller pie. And since clearly you're not optimising for calories per unit work (because then you might as well chug oil) that argument doesn't even make sense in the first place. :) Sharing it is the optimal option though, if possible. (I really miss baking at the office. :( And not just because it gave me an excuse to spend the day in the kitchen.)

 

New challenge goal accepted! Goal 5: Chug a Gallon of Oil.

 

I am right there with you. Giving me an excuse to bake is one of the very few things I miss about offices right now. Without an office, there just doesn't seem to be a point in making big batches of homemade bagels. Which used to be MY JAM.

 

Update for yesterday: Wednesday!

 

- Still tired as hell. Despite tiredness, did my mobility. I do hope this new mob routine will loosen my hips up, because its main effect at the moment seems to be making my hip flexors sore as hell.

 

- Dinner over the last few days has been fairly quick-and-dirty, driven by a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers. Last night’s meal was the last of some charred Brussels sprouts salad and kimchijeon, a kimchi pancake. No photo — I devoured half of it with a ponzu dipping sauce before I thought to snap one.
 
- While digging through my bins of spices, I found a couple bags of white and brown mustard seeds that I haven’t used in like a year. This got me started on the idea of maybe making some homemade Dijon-style mustard. Good French-style mustard is $$ to buy, but it’s just an infusion of spices in an acidic liquid, so it should be easy to make.
 
- This is a little out of left field, but does anyone know of a dish that uses fresh daikon, preferably cooked in some kind of a stew, that they like? I tend to have trouble with the texture of cooked daikon — I don’t love the way that it kinda has the crunch of raw potato — but I know this is a me-problem and I’d like to expand my palette. I will take all suggestions, and I will cook AT LEAST one.
 
- Still need to package up and freeze the turkey stock I made out of the Thanksgiving carcass, but I'm too lazy.
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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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13 hours ago, Epsilonte said:

Hmmmm, pie... and music... 

 

  Hide contents

 

 

 

:D :D 

 

EXCELLENT

 

I once heard an interview with the frontman of that band... he said that writing that song was one of his greatest regrets in life, because its success made it so difficult for him to write anything else that was taken seriously. Rough luck, man. But OTOH, I'll bet you made a lot of money.

 

I worked out yesterday!

 

Workout Log 12/3/20
- Going In: Sleep not perfect! I only got 6.5 hours overall
Warmup

Pistol Squats: 5/5b-e

Pistol Squats +12lbs: 7/7b-x, 7/7b-x, 7/7a-x
- In the 2nd set, started to have a twinge in the right leg's medial upper shin… kind of like a shin splint. It's happened before, and I thought it was part of my knee issues, but this time there was no knee problem to go with it. I thought about cutting short, but finally did the 3rd set with an eye to keeping my balance solid, and that seemed to solve it.

Incline Archer Rows: 7/7b-x, 7/7b-x, 7.5/7.5b-y

Wall HS Holds: 6sb-e, 4sb-x, 6sb-e

Pike Pushup Negatives: 3(5s)b-e

FG Ring Pullups: 9a-x, 10b-x, 6b-y, 4.5a-y
- Pullups seemed to aggravate my shoulder today, but not my old injury on my right -- this was my left. The feeling of impingement feels familiar, though. I think it's not too bad, but depending on how it feels tomorrow I may need to cut pullups for a workout or two.

Stool Dips: 9a-e, 11a-x, 11a-x

L-Sits: 15sc-x, 12sa-y, 8sa-y

Asst Natural Hamstring Curls: 6c-y, 6b-y

Adv Tuck Dragon Flags: 7b-y, 7a-y

Cooldown

- Really hit a wall in the second half of that workout. Weird; I was feeling more rested today than last workout.

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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On 12/4/2020 at 2:12 PM, PaulG said:

IT WAS THE FIRST LINK!

haha, I thought I checked them all :D 

 

On 12/4/2020 at 2:12 PM, PaulG said:

New challenge goal accepted! Goal 5: Chug a Gallon of Oil.

Yeah, but what kind of oil?  :P (as if it made any difference....)

 

On 12/4/2020 at 2:12 PM, PaulG said:

This is a little out of left field, but does anyone know of a dish that uses fresh daikon, preferably cooked in some kind of a stew, that they like? I tend to have trouble with the texture of cooked daikon — I don’t love the way that it kinda has the crunch of raw potato — but I know this is a me-problem and I’d like to expand my palette. I will take all suggestions, and I will cook AT LEAST one.

Have you ever had Oden?  That is how I have traditionally had stewed daikon.  However, if you want my opinion the very best way to consume daikon is Daikon-oroshi.  Mix it up with some soy sauce and throw it on some grilled salted mackerel or a Salisbury steak.  Perfection!

 

 

HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread    Bodyweight Exercise Library

The Arruvia Conspiracy Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, 89, 10 

Other Challenges: 12345, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28Mardi Gras [Current]

Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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On 12/5/2020 at 2:49 AM, WhiteGhost said:

Yeah, but what kind of oil?  :P (as if it made any difference....)

 

Easy. The most delicious oil that's not chile oil: schmaltz

 

On 12/5/2020 at 2:49 AM, WhiteGhost said:

Have you ever had Oden?  That is how I have traditionally had stewed daikon.  However, if you want my opinion the very best way to consume daikon is Daikon-oroshi.  Mix it up with some soy sauce and throw it on some grilled salted mackerel or a Salisbury steak.  Perfection!

 

I had never heard of oden before! The most popular recipe on Google seems to be this one, but the iteration looks pretty elaborate (five different types of fish cakes, etc). Is that how you normally make it?

 

--

 

I figured out how to get my workout logs working again... spoilered for length and its boredom-inducing coding talk.

 

Spoiler

I had been struggling with this because the log I use is basically a big Excel table:

 

AgvqQShr_o.png

 

It's nice to use while I work, and down at the bottom, a CONCATENATE() function spits out the whole table as a text string that I can paste right into the forums. Since the forum update broke our old BBCode formatting system, though, it's been messed up -- the whole idea of the Excel table was so I wouldn't have to manually format everything, especially the fancy superscript stuff -- with all the RPF and RPE stuff I track, formatting it feels like the only reason it's remotely possible to read my logs. After @spezzy helpfully mentioned Evernote in the forum update thread, though, I started messing around with converting text to RTF. Eventually, I hit on the idea of switching to HTML formatting; then I can open my log as a web page in Firefox, and copy/paste it right into the forums. It means fiddling around with text files and required a bunch of recoding to add extra html tags, which I haven't used in years, but it works.

 

So yeah... I'm not sure that's actually less work than just writing the whole thing in Evernote from scratch every time. 😅

 

Saturday I was beat, and I think I slept on my left shoulder a little funny, because it was definitely a little sore -- as well as the left knee, for no reason I can think of. I finally decided to let myself work out, and over the course of the day all sorts of other problem spots started to make themselves known -- my upper back, for one; and a ton of DOMS in my forearms reared its head. I generally hate skipping workouts, and I tend to beat myself up mentally when I do. I'm always about reinforcing the habit of regular exercise, and I know my progression will stall if I'm always faffing around and skipping workout days. But this was a nice reminder that sometimes I need recovery more than I need consistency, and that my recovery may not match up ideally with a workout schedule.

 

I also hate skipping workouts because there is a part of me that still fears gaining weight. Those thoughts are at the forefront of my mind, more than usual, as I start this bulk and watch my weight shoot up from a tight band of 173-175, suddenly up to 179. My waist measurement is more the focus of my concern: for the last few days I can't seem to get a consistent reading when I measure each morning. It mostly appears to be 28.625", and is pushing into 28.75" territory; but a couple of mornings in the last week I couldn't get a reading below 29", for no clear reason.

 

As I write this, I'm reminded that these kinds of weird swings are actually pretty normal for the start of a bulk. I had forgotten how difficult this conscious weight gain can be mentally. But I know from experience that I need to stay the course, stick to the plan.


I wrote a monster post over in the Weight Loss forum on Saturday -- once I was looking at the whole thing, it kind of felt like I'd written half an article. The post ended up a kind of rough-draft distillation of many of the thoughts I've had about weight loss and health over the past six months, as I worked my way through a couple of cuts and a long period of tracked maintenance. It's funny: I've thought of writing down those thoughts and posting them in my challenge thread many, many times. But I shied away all those times because it just felt like too big a writing project. I'm not sure what it is about having a specific person to write to that suddenly made all those thoughts spill out, and made me want to stitch them into something cohesive.

 

I also tend to shy away from talk like this on my challenge threads because of who may be reading it. I get the feeling a lot of folks on NF have not had good experiences with calorie counting, or with tracking their weight closely. I feel I've got a decent level of knowledge to share on body composition stuff, but I wouldn't want to drive people away from my challenge thread when there are so many other things I can write about -- like food, or parkour -- that will probably be better received.

 

After writing the post, I listened back to a podcast I'd linked in it: Elna Baker's piece in This American Life about her weight loss, and how it affected her mentally. It was a little rough. The piece is more bleak than I'd remembered it; she ends the piece still using diet pills, disillusioned with how people see her, newly married to a husband who admits he wouldn't have married her when she was fat; she is just beginning to realize that the reasons she's unhappy aren't related to her weight at all. (She does an interview a couple years later, in which she has better perspective on how she was actually able to fix some of those things.)

 

After listening, I somewhat regret posting it in a thread on weight loss and depression; it could probably be triggering for some people, and frankly, there is probably a lot going on in that podcast that I still don't fully understand. I've never been in a similar place to Baker in life. Listening to it, though, could also help some people to critically examine their own reasons for their desire to lose weight; which is a good thing, right? This is something I'm still struggling with.

 

In less strugglesome news, something everyone can get behind: TACOS. I had a hankering for a big meal Saturday night. So, I shredded up the last Thanksgiving turkey wing with some chorizo, made some eggs and tortillas, and went nuts. The tortillas are from this recent Serious Eats recipe for North Mexico-style flour/lard tortillas; I had no lard, so I used some chicken schmaltz out of the freezer.

 

zlatxbpc_o.jpg

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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2 hours ago, PaulG said:

I also tend to shy away from talk like this on my challenge threads because of who may be reading it. I get the feeling a lot of folks on NF have not had good experiences with calorie counting, or with tracking their weight closely. I feel I've got a decent level of knowledge to share on body composition stuff, but I wouldn't want to drive people away from my challenge thread when there are so many other things I can write about -- like food, or parkour -- that will probably be better received.

It's your thread - talk about whatever you want. People may start following your thread because they have similar interests, but they stick around because they are interested in you as a person. At least that is my experience. I do tend to avoid the threads of new (to me) people when those threads are focused heavily on weight loss simply because I cannot relate, but certainly not because their talking about that topic offends my sensibilities.

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7 hours ago, PaulG said:

The most popular recipe on Google seems to be this one, but the iteration looks pretty elaborate (five different types of fish cakes, etc). Is that how you normally make it?

Oden is a very forgiving dish and you can really mix and match whatever ingredients you like in there.  I would recommend you look at this recipe, which gives a list of suggested items you can throw in, rather than a specific list.  If you are trying to make the fish cakes & related items from scratch you are going to be in for a long, long day in the kitchen.  I would only suggest trying to make this dish if you can buy those items ready made from an Asian food shop.

 

Alternatively you could make DongGua WanZi Tang and replace the winter melon with daikon.  When we make this one at home we add Chinese cabbage and tiny dried shrimp (XiaMi).

 

7 hours ago, PaulG said:

I also tend to shy away from talk like this on my challenge threads because of who may be reading it.

Like Julie said, this is your space and you should write whatever you feel like.  

HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread    Bodyweight Exercise Library

The Arruvia Conspiracy Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, 89, 10 

Other Challenges: 12345, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28Mardi Gras [Current]

Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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19 hours ago, PaulG said:

I wrote a monster post over in the Weight Loss forum on Saturday -- once I was looking at the whole thing, it kind of felt like I'd written half an article. The post ended up a kind of rough-draft distillation of many of the thoughts I've had about weight loss and health over the past six months, as I worked my way through a couple of cuts and a long period of tracked maintenance. It's funny: I've thought of writing down those thoughts and posting them in my challenge thread many, many times. But I shied away all those times because it just felt like too big a writing project. I'm not sure what it is about having a specific person to write to that suddenly made all those thoughts spill out, and made me want to stitch them into something cohesive.

 

I found the post useful, especially when you said many people tend to gain weight slowly (I was thinking... maybe I don't need to choose between never dieting and always dieting... maybe I can just do a few 'modest eating' periods of a couple of weeks throughout the year in order to not gain).

 

At the same time, I am here to read about pie.

 

19 hours ago, PaulG said:

 

After writing the post, I listened back to a podcast I'd linked in it: Elna Baker's piece in This American Life about her weight loss, and how it affected her mentally. It was a little rough. The piece is more bleak than I'd remembered it; she ends the piece still using diet pills, disillusioned with how people see her, newly married to a husband who admits he wouldn't have married her when she was fat; she is just beginning to realize that the reasons she's unhappy aren't related to her weight at all. (She does an interview a couple years later, in which she has better perspective on how she was actually able to fix some of those things.)

 

After listening, I somewhat regret posting it in a thread on weight loss and depression; it could probably be triggering for some people, and frankly, there is probably a lot going on in that podcast that I still don't fully understand. I've never been in a similar place to Baker in life. Listening to it, though, could also help some people to critically examine their own reasons for their desire to lose weight; which is a good thing, right? This is something I'm still struggling with

 

 

It was a little sad to listen to, and I don't have any solutions. It's just true that society at large judges us based on our weight. There is almost nothing we can do about beauty standards at the individual level--we can only choose to conform or rebel to different extents, and while not conforming (either by choice or inability) comes with social costs, both can be attended by psychic and physical costs.


But the newbie you responded to will be fine--they made a challenge! And you can post whatever you want on your own thread. If talk of calorie counting makes us neurotic we can scroll past.

 

Spoiler

but speaking for myself, it's not ordinary people talking about dieting that sets off my food-body-madness. It's having seen about a billion photoshopped or cartoon images of impossibly ultra thin women everywhere always forever in everything, and having built, in my formative years, an extremely stubborn subconscious association between thinness and worthiness, and, apparently, an inability to look at myself objectively.


That said, let us move on to pie. How do you keep the bottom from not baking properly? I made an apple pie recently, and even though I warmed and macerated the apples, drained the juice, reduced it, and put it back in, the bottom of the pie did not cook well. I know you can blind bake, but how do you put the raw pie lid on if the bottom is already cooked?

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On 12/4/2020 at 1:12 AM, PaulG said:

 

- This is a little out of left field, but does anyone know of a dish that uses fresh daikon, preferably cooked in some kind of a stew, that they like? I tend to have trouble with the texture of cooked daikon — I don’t love the way that it kinda has the crunch of raw potato — but I know this is a me-problem and I’d like to expand my palette. I will take all suggestions, and I will cook AT LEAST one.

Not exactly fresh daikon, but I am a FIEND for pickled daikon. You can go a lot of ways with it, obviously, but I'm a big fan of do chua, danmuji, and chicken-mu as pickle options, haha. 

 

21 hours ago, PaulG said:

But this was a nice reminder that sometimes I need recovery more than I need consistency, and that my recovery may not match up ideally with a workout schedule.

It's a hard lesson we all have to relearn sometimes. :)

 

Quote

As I write this, I'm reminded that these kinds of weird swings are actually pretty normal for the start of a bulk. I had forgotten how difficult this conscious weight gain can be mentally. But I know from experience that I need to stay the course, stick to the plan.

Bulk good! BULK GOOD! BULK LET YOU SMASH! 

 

Quote

In less strugglesome news, something everyone can get behind: TACOS. I had a hankering for a big meal Saturday night. So, I shredded up the last Thanksgiving turkey wing with some chorizo, made some eggs and tortillas, and went nuts. The tortillas are from this recent Serious Eats recipe for North Mexico-style flour/lard tortillas; I had no lard, so I used some chicken schmaltz out of the freezer.

I have never made flour tortillas, but I kind of want to now. Also I fucking LOVE schmaltz, haha.

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If we had more people struggling with eating disorder recovery, I might be more of an advocate of developing a culture of putting calorie counting behind spoilers as a form of flagged trigger warning. (Not at all "don't talk about it", because you should talk about your things on your thread, but to promote a board culture of supporting people with diverse needs at the same time by making triggers both easy to skip and easy to discuss.) But for all of our personal histories with dieting, I don't think we tend to see eating disorders in the challenges, so it doesn't feel like a current pressing need. It is thoughtful of you to think of.

 

My only request, personally, for calorie counting discussion is that it not be presented as a panacea. Some bodies respond very well to it, some do not, and same again with minds. For the people whose bodies or minds don't respond as expected to calorie cutting, it's the dominance of the calorie counting understanding of weight loss as the single answer that isn't great, more than just discussion of it. So I guess that's again coming down on the side of "let's understand and support diverse needs", which includes, of course, your discussion in your space of your own understanding and needs. :)

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On 12/6/2020 at 2:55 PM, juliebarkley said:

It's your thread - talk about whatever you want. People may start following your thread because they have similar interests, but they stick around because they are interested in you as a person. At least that is my experience. I do tend to avoid the threads of new (to me) people when those threads are focused heavily on weight loss simply because I cannot relate, but certainly not because their talking about that topic offends my sensibilities.

 

18 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Like Julie said, this is your space and you should write whatever you feel like. 

 

Thanks, that's reassuring to hear. :)

 

6 hours ago, Harriet said:

I found the post useful, especially when you said many people tend to gain weight slowly (I was thinking... maybe I don't need to choose between never dieting and always dieting... maybe I can just do a few 'modest eating' periods of a couple of weeks throughout the year in order to not gain).

 

I'm glad you got something out of that! I originally heard the idea espoused by Waldo, who used to be active on these forums -- he was a big supporter of the idea that most people would probably find it physically healthiest to spend most of their time slowly gaining weight, and then jumping into brief periods of weight loss once or twice a year to keep their weight reasonable. Waldo, though, was always the type of person who tracked absolutely everything, and he seemed to believe that continuing to track calories for the rest of his life was a reasonable idea. I don't think that's really necessary, especially once we've developed a habit of regular exercise. And I think it's healthier mentally to cultivate the attitude that our bodies will change; and like maintaining a healthy budget, we can step back in every once in a while to keep things in check rather than trying to exert constant control.

 

6 hours ago, Harriet said:

It was a little sad to listen to, and I don't have any solutions. It's just true that society at large judges us based on our weight. There is almost nothing we can do about beauty standards at the individual level--we can only choose to conform or rebel to different extents, and while not conforming (either by choice or inability) comes with social costs, both can be attended by psychic and physical costs.


Yeah, that piece is kinda rough. You make a good point about there really being nothing we can do individually. People will just react to us differently, in ways that aren't fair. I suppose the only thing we can do is examine the way we see other people in our lives, to try not to fall into those traps ourselves.

 

I 100% agree with your point on images. I think we all find it basically impossible to look at ourselves objectively, that's pretty natural. But the false equation of thinness with worthiness, unfortunately, is way more baked into culture for women than for men. </CaptainObvious>

 

4 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

If we had more people struggling with eating disorder recovery, I might be more of an advocate of developing a culture of putting calorie counting behind spoilers as a form of flagged trigger warning. (Not at all "don't talk about it", because you should talk about your things on your thread, but to promote a board culture of supporting people with diverse needs at the same time by making triggers both easy to skip and easy to discuss.) But for all of our personal histories with dieting, I don't think we tend to see eating disorders in the challenges, so it doesn't feel like a current pressing need. It is thoughtful of you to think of.

 

My only request, personally, for calorie counting discussion is that it not be presented as a panacea. Some bodies respond very well to it, some do not, and same again with minds. For the people whose bodies or minds don't respond as expected to calorie cutting, it's the dominance of the calorie counting understanding of weight loss as the single answer that isn't great, more than just discussion of it. So I guess that's again coming down on the side of "let's understand and support diverse needs", which includes, of course, your discussion in your space of your own understanding and needs.

 

Thanks! Again, reassuring to hear, so thank you.

 

I've been guilty of the calorie counting-as-panacea sin myself, I hear you there. It took me several years to reach a place of understanding; I had to work my way through a couple of cuts and bulks way back in 2013 or so. And then, several years and 30 lbs gained at my desk job later, I went back to calorie counting -- and I hit a wall. it just wasn't working the way it used to, and I felt like a pit had opened up in front of me. And then, over the years since, I've seen more fully how difficult it can be, and the areas in which it's ineffective.

 

Part of the cause of a lot of arguments, I think, are that when we talk about "calorie counting", we're really talking about a group of ideas all packaged together --  a scientific understanding of how humans metabolize nutrients and energy, but it's also wrapped up in a particular method for how to manipulate your weight that revolves around budgeting, numbers, and constant tracking. I think that makes it tempting for people to either prop up or shoot down the whole thing. A nuanced critique of calorie counting, that doesn't conclude by trying to set fire to the ideas outright, isn't something I've ever seen done.

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I thought that podcast was very very good and everyone should give it a listen. 
 

As a dietician I much prefer a period of calorie counting for almost everyone, but in my experience it’s rarely sustainable long term- that takes a special kind of mind which Waldo definitely had. But it’s a good eye opener or a foundation for what good portions might look like for them etc.... but mostly I like to use it to break the all or nothing mentality. The “oh I ate a cookie so I ruined my diet and I might as well give up on it completely”. When you count calories over the week instead of or even day by day you quickly realise how silly that thought process is. 

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22 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

I thought that podcast was very very good and everyone should give it a listen. 
 

As a dietician I much prefer a period of calorie counting for almost everyone, but in my experience it’s rarely sustainable long term- that takes a special kind of mind which Waldo definitely had. But it’s a good eye opener or a foundation for what good portions might look like for them etc.... but mostly I like to use it to break the all or nothing mentality. The “oh I ate a cookie so I ruined my diet and I might as well give up on it completely”. When you count calories over the week instead of or even day by day you quickly realise how silly that thought process is. 

Calorie counting really helped me in that regard. Especially over say strict Paleo or low carb.

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21 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

As a dietician I much prefer a period of calorie counting for almost everyone, but in my experience it’s rarely sustainable long term- that takes a special kind of mind which Waldo definitely had. But it’s a good eye opener or a foundation for what good portions might look like for them etc.... but mostly I like to use it to break the all or nothing mentality. The “oh I ate a cookie so I ruined my diet and I might as well give up on it completely”. When you count calories over the week instead of or even day by day you quickly realise how silly that thought process is. 

 

I think it's really useful periodically for understanding the lay of the land, if you're not the kind of person who's triggered by it. It's hard to make useful changes if you don't actually know what's going on. Good data is useful.

 

I'm one of those people where calorie reduction has approximately zero impact on weight loss. I did a six month experiment on six different calorie levels, controlled for exercise, and my weight didn't shift at all. What happened instead was my body stopped repairing post-workout damage as my calorie levels dropped. Hikes I could do every day at the higher calorie levels started taking two days to physically recover from, then three, then three days and constant joint pain. (Then I lost weight for several months by increasing my calories 125% over my starting maintenance level.) So I find the calories in, calories out theory a bit too simplistic as an understanding of how the body manages energy and weight. But it does work well for some people. I suspect CICO is an incomplete model that addresses the needs of a fair number of people whose medical histories don't fall into the gaps and unknowns of the model. But there are definitely people who fall into those gaps, and probably not just a few.

 

If I were still getting the message that calorie reduction was the only way to lose weight, I'd be doing a lot of damage to my body by undereating at a level where it didn't repair itself and not losing weight. Calorie counting is still periodically useful. Every once in a while, you need to make sure you're actually doing what you think you're doing.

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1 hour ago, sarakingdom said:

 

I think it's really useful periodically for understanding the lay of the land, if you're not the kind of person who's triggered by it. It's hard to make useful changes if you don't actually know what's going on. Good data is useful.

 

I'm one of those people where calorie reduction has approximately zero impact on weight loss. I did a six month experiment on six different calorie levels, controlled for exercise, and my weight didn't shift at all. What happened instead was my body stopped repairing post-workout damage as my calorie levels dropped. Hikes I could do every day at the higher calorie levels started taking two days to physically recover from, then three, then three days and constant joint pain. (Then I lost weight for several months by increasing my calories 125% over my starting maintenance level.) So I find the calories in, calories out theory a bit too simplistic as an understanding of how the body manages energy and weight. But it does work well for some people. I suspect CICO is an incomplete model that addresses the needs of a fair number of people whose medical histories don't fall into the gaps and unknowns of the model. But there are definitely people who fall into those gaps, and probably not just a few.

 

If I were still getting the message that calorie reduction was the only way to lose weight, I'd be doing a lot of damage to my body by undereating at a level where it didn't repair itself and not losing weight. Calorie counting is still periodically useful. Every once in a while, you need to make sure you're actually doing what you think you're doing.

Oh thanks for sharing your experience! These kinds of stories are so very useful. 
 

It doesn’t mean that the CICO model is wrong, it’s just a lot more complicated than it is usually presented. The factors influence each other- in your case reducing calories in also reduced your calories out in a not at all good way. There are more ways this could happen- for example body temp can drop a bit or what we call ehm... I don’t know the English doe this but basically ‘none voluntarily none exercise calorie expenditure’ - fiddling with your leg for example or just being more active around the house without thinking about it, getting up more often, that kind of thing. 

The other way around too- trying to increase calories out with exercise can also increase calories in by inducing more hunger.. or manipulating one part of calories in (restricting meals during the day) can result in an increase at another part (more snacking in the evening). 

all of that is really a long way to say that CICO is a model for how weight changes work, it’s not a model/method for weight loss. 

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5 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

It doesn’t mean that the CICO model is wrong, it’s just a lot more complicated than it is usually presented. The factors influence each other- in your case reducing calories in also reduced your calories out in a not at all good way. There are more ways this could happen- for example body temp can drop a bit or what we call ehm... I don’t know the English doe this but basically ‘none voluntarily none exercise calorie expenditure’ - fiddling with your leg for example or just being more active around the house without thinking about it, getting up more often, that kind of thing. 

 

In English it's called NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. And I agree, it's one of the things most people don't think or talk about when they're talking about weight loss (or trying to give advice about it on the internet) because it's much more complicated than the food-intake and specific exercise parts of the equation.

 

20 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Oden is a very forgiving dish and you can really mix and match whatever ingredients you like in there.  I would recommend you look at this recipe, which gives a list of suggested items you can throw in, rather than a specific list.  If you are trying to make the fish cakes & related items from scratch you are going to be in for a long, long day in the kitchen.  I would only suggest trying to make this dish if you can buy those items ready made from an Asian food shop.

 

Alternatively you could make DongGua WanZi Tang and replace the winter melon with daikon.  When we make this one at home we add Chinese cabbage and tiny dried shrimp (XiaMi).

 

Ooh, thank you for that recipe link! I'm not about making fish cakes from scratch -- cased sausage has taught me that making processed meats at home is always a big PITA. Luckily, the Seattle area has lots of places I can pick up that kind of stuff.

 

I've never had donggua wanzi, it looks tasty. It also reminds me of the winter melon soup component of khao man kai, the Thai version of Hainanese poached chicken and rice. I may have to do that -- winter melon is always sold in massive slabs around here, the size to feed a family of four for a few days. Daikon would be a more reasonable sub.

 

6 hours ago, raptron said:

Not exactly fresh daikon, but I am a FIEND for pickled daikon. You can go a lot of ways with it, obviously, but I'm a big fan of do chua, danmuji, and chicken-mu as pickle options, haha. 

 

Good reminder! I've never had the danmuji before, and I'd forgotten it takes so well to pickling.

 

6 hours ago, raptron said:

I have never made flour tortillas, but I kind of want to now. Also I fucking LOVE schmaltz, haha.

 

DO IT. Schmaltz, lard, whatever fat you want, it is good stuff.

 

Those particular tortillas are really high-lard, so they came out very tender but a little greasy. They were good, but I'm starting to think I prefer the softer, puffier tortillas that are closer in texture to what you get in your average Kroger. I've tried both that Serious Eats recipe and Rick Martinez' recipe, and had good results with both.

 

No matter what, I never make tortillas in a dang stand mixer like that first recipe I linked in my tacos post, that would be crazy talk for four taco-size tortillas. I guess you could if you really love doing dishes. But I do it by hand in a bowl, like those last two recipes talk through.

 

9 hours ago, Harriet said:

That said, let us move on to pie. How do you keep the bottom from not baking properly? I made an apple pie recently, and even though I warmed and macerated the apples, drained the juice, reduced it, and put it back in, the bottom of the pie did not cook well. I know you can blind bake, but how do you put the raw pie lid on if the bottom is already cooked?

 

Excellent question! When it comes to pie, I am 100% a student. I've probably done more research than most, but I've only actually made like five pies in my life. Only one of them was a double-crusted pie, and although it was tasty, the bottom actually came out underbaked for me too. However, I've since made a few berry (read: high-hydration filling) pies, and I've not had that problem since.

 

But I do have a couple ideas, based on the excellent articles I've read by Stella Parks (this article is an excellent start to troubleshooting most of the pie problems I've come across).

 

First, blind-baking: it's a technique most commonly used for custard or meringue pies, because the custard can't handle an oven hot enough to properly brown the crust itself. You are absolutely right that blind-baking the bottom of a double-crust pie would be suboptimal: I've never tried it, but I imagine the top (raw) crust would completely fail to bind to the bottom (cooked) crust.

 

I have three top guesses for the cause of your apple pie woes:

 

1. A pie dough that's low-hydration and low-fat, causing it to suck all the water it can from the filling;

2. A filling recipe that doesn't adequately gel, leaving more water available for the crust;

3. A lack of heat conduction through the bottom of the pie pan.

 

Do you happen to have the recipes handy you used, and the type of pie pan/setup in your oven? Maybe we can narrow down what's the likely culprit.

 

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13 hours ago, Harriet said:
 

but speaking for myself, it's not ordinary people talking about dieting that sets off my food-body-madness. It's having seen about a billion photoshopped or cartoon images of impossibly ultra thin women everywhere always forever in everything, and having built, in my formative years, an extremely stubborn subconscious association between thinness and worthiness, and, apparently, an inability to look at myself objectively.


That said, let us move on to pie. How do you keep the bottom from not baking properly? I made an apple pie recently, and even though I warmed and macerated the apples, drained the juice, reduced it, and put it back in, the bottom of the pie did not cook well. I know you can blind bake, but how do you put the raw pie lid on if the bottom is already cooked?

 

3 hours ago, PaulG said:

I have three top guesses for the cause of your apple pie woes:

 

1. A pie dough that's low-hydration and low-fat, causing it to suck all the water it can from the filling;

2. A filling recipe that doesn't adequately gel, leaving more water available for the crust;

3. A lack of heat conduction through the bottom of the pie pan.

 

Do you happen to have the recipes handy you used, and the type of pie pan/setup in your oven? Maybe we can narrow down what's the likely culprit.

If I may interject...I am no expert, but have made something like 20-30 pies in the past two months, with some trial and error, because pie is a PITA of deliciousness

@Harriet   If you’re doing a cooked filling, are you chilling it completely before you add it to the pie crust? If it’s warm at all, it’ll start to melt the butter in the crust before steam is formed in the oven and will lead to a soggy bottom.

I do a raw apple filling and what I’ve found usually works is first letting the filling mixture rest so that it releases some of the extra moisture, then scooping it into the prepared pie crust (when the crust is SUPER cold. I’m sure the you know, but whenever not directly working with any portion of the pie crust, make sure it’s in the fridge or freezer, so the butter doesn’t start to soften waiting around on the counter or something) with a slotted spoon, to leave behind the extra liquid. Then  chill the pie at least 30 minutes, making sure the pieis SUPER cold, even put it in the freezer for a bit. If the butter isn’t super duper cold, you won’t develop a lovely flaky crust, it’ll just melt before it can form steam, and once it melts the barrier to the filling is ruined before the filling starts to set so it all becomes soggy and it never bakes properly. Also, put it in a really hot oven, like 425 F, for the first 15-20 minutes, then turn it down to 375 F for the next 30-40 minutes or so. The high heat helps the crust to bake properly, and then you can always tent some tin foil to protect any parts of crust that are trying to catch too soon. 
 

this is just what has worked for me in my kitchen, maybe it won’t be useful for you, but thought I’d share my experiences on the off chance it could be helpful. :) 
 

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