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The Paryl Project

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01 July 2022


Let's start with the brutal truth, shall we?

At 35 years of age:

  • I weigh in at 83kg/183lbs - around 23kg overweight
  • I have very little mental and physical energy
  • I basically never cook and we eat some form of take-out every day (partially because I don't particularly like cooking)
  • Aside from the past 2 weeks or so, I have been completely sedentary for the past few years


I don't like where I am anymore. I want to have the energy to get important things done (my house is such a mess and desperately need a declutter [just burning it down is more tempting tbh], but I just don't have the energy).  but more importantly, be there for my daughter. Currently, I am a horrible role model and I don't want to see her growing into what I am.


Change is needed and I feel like I am in a place where I am ready for it. Especially since I am also in a place where I can accept that the most important changes will take a while. Most times I want to go from someone who doesn't cook to someone who cooks most days and have it all planned out. No more. Small changes that will become habits. Because habits stick. 


I've started working through the Academy and have the following identity goals:

  • I weigh in at a healthy weight
  • I have mental and physical energy 
  • I cook bulk meals for lunches and healthy dinners 3-4 times a week
  • I work out regularly and have investigating the wonders of powerlifting
  • I journal regularly


I am struggling to visualise timelines, which I know is one of the most important parts of effectively working towards a goal. For the moment, I am not going to let the lack stop me - I can either spend days or weeks trying to come up with the perfect path to these goals, or I can get started and then re-evaluate. I will make my start by setting goals for a month at a time - post for June to have more details.


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July 2022


The theme for this month is habit building - instead of getting paralyzed trying to plan, I am going to work on building the habits that will support me in eventually reaching my identity goals. Part of this first month is a deep understanding of building habits, I believed that once I am armed with this knowledge, I will be able to build habits and know when I can start considering them to be solid habits. That in turn will bring me closer to a place where I can start creating realistic goals that will build to becoming my identity goals. 


So, Paryl, for month 1, the most important part is showing up. 


Goals for the month:

  • Read Atomic Habits by James Clear 
  • Do a workout every week day at 12:00 (16:30 on Thursdays and days when meetings are scheduled)
    • Showing up is the most important here - success is changing into workout clothes and doing one rep of each exercise in the scheduled workout
  • Cook bulk lunches on 3 occasions (Sundays)
  • Cook dinner on one day each week
  • Write one line in journal every weekday morning when I get to my desk
    • More is okay too, as is counting the two posts made on 1 July as the journal entry is also okay


Yes Paryl, this is at snails pace, but the snail WILL eventually get to it's destination.


Tracking in Google Sheets

Planning for August goals will start in the week of 25 July

Maintaining existing habits of:

  • IF - 5 days a week
  • 0 liquid calories - 5 days a week
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11 July 2022


Week One start out well, but then quickly descended into a rather dark hole. No Exercise, bad eating and more. 


Silly as it sounds, one of the most annoying/frustrating parts is getting changed into exercise clothes - especially on cold days. That really is half the battle sometimes. 


Here's to a better Week 2 - I'm travelling for work - leave Thursday morning, return Saturday evening - I should be able to do bodyweight workouts in my hotel room for Thursday and Friday.  

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11 July:


Did the General DOMS boss battle from NFA - I think it went relatively well, though I'm not entirely happy with my squat depth just yet (I keep losing my balance and falling backward lol) - plenty more of them in the new workouts, so I'll do some research and see if I'm possibly forgetting to do something with some muscles. I tend to struggle with exercises where I need to remember a number of steps. It takes time to get each step right before I can focus on the next one. Remember to tighten my core and I forget to get my foot position right, etc. 
Just need to figure out the right sequence and eventually it will all become second nature. It just bothers me with something like kettlebell swings where incorrect posture/movement is most unhelpful.


I've added 100 kb swings to my daily workout - 6kg kb at the moment. Trying to figure out when and how to adjust eventually - do I up number of swings or the weight of the kb first? 

That's a week or two away though - maybe I'll increase by 25 - 50 swings a week and once I reach x number of swings, up the weight and go down to 100 swings again. Or something.


Today is going to be a non-routine day, so I'm a little worried about actually getting to my workout. I really do not like changes to my routine, but it is necessary. 

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Re: KB swings - what's worked very well for me has been using an interval timer: 30 seconds of swings, then 30 seconds of rest, repeated 15 times.  From experience, I know that 17-19 swings is what I can complete in 30 seconds.  Once I reach 19 swings and feel that it's getting (relatively) easy, I'll increase the weight and drop back to 17 swings.


It's worked perfectly for me, although depending on how the KB swing circuit is set up, YMMV.  


Non-routine days do make it harder, but, if it helps, it usually provides a greater feeling of satisfaction once completed, recognizing that you were able to compensate for the change and still continue working toward your goal.  You can do it!

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Not sure how you are with eating bulk meals, but it was always a bit too much of a repetitive thing for me.  I know you aren't much of a fan of cooking but you may want to check out Pro Home Cooks on youtube.  The guy has some really nice ideas on what meal prep can be, and I have grabbed a few of his recipes/made them my own.  It helps with needing things cooked quickly, especially when the little ones want to eat RIGHT NOW, lol.

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4 hours ago, .TIFF said:

Not sure how you are with eating bulk meals, but it was always a bit too much of a repetitive thing for me.  I know you aren't much of a fan of cooking but you may want to check out Pro Home Cooks on youtube.  The guy has some really nice ideas on what meal prep can be, and I have grabbed a few of his recipes/made them my own.  It helps with needing things cooked quickly, especially when the little ones want to eat RIGHT NOW, lol.


Thanks! I'll definitely have a look!

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12 July


Workout felt good until I watched the recording afterwards. Some serious form issues with both the squat and kettlebell row. 

My biggest problem is that it feels like my form is right while I'm doing the exercise. I'm not sure how to get around that. 

It doesn't help that there are a few different "acceptable" forms for the bodyweight row. 

On the bright side, I finally managed to also remember to push my knees out while doing a squat. 


I also realised yesterday, that it would be a good idea for me to actually verbalise the positives. I get stuck on the negative and frustrating (and there were plenty small frustrations yesterday) and that brings down my whole mood while "forgetting" about the positives.




  • I did my workout despite not feeling like it
  • Feedback on my mid-probationary review was very positive
  • Remembering to keep a good posture while sitting at my desk (mostly)
  • Friends that make me smile


I had to chuckle while watching some series last night - finding that I'm appreciating great physiques in a very different way now - being in awe of the work it takes to look that way.

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13 July



I'm remembering to write in my journal every day - not much yet, but it is all about the habit. Making good progress through Atomic Habits - will re-read it a few times, but definitely a few good ideas for implementation there.

Managed to work my way through the start of a slump Tuesday afternoon/evening which is good.



Not too bad, though I'm looking forward to having cooked lunches next week. Going to do Avo on toast for breaking fast in the mornings since I'm feeling too weak when exercising at the moment. 

Dinners we won't speak about much just yet



I think it went well - can't say I'm fond of inchworms or wall slides, but I will get there. 

Swapped KB swings for some foam rolling - those pointy instruments of torture will hopefully be helpful, but I think it would be good if I added that and some more stretching to my days.

Would be nice to find a spot in the house where I can do it because then I could maybe use evenings for stretching and maybe some mobility workouts.



  • Made dinner last night
  • Back wasn't quite as sore last night - I think the extra stretching and pointy torture may have helped
  • I'm almost looking forward to working out - enough so that getting changed (esp in the cold) feels like less of an obstacle



  • That travelling will disrupt the good start - though, it's not a major worry - I'm feeling optimistic about keeping going and my resistance bands are going with me (HT to GT for reminding me of the possibility)
  • Form on the squats - I think I'll assisted squats for the moment to work around this, being careful that the assistance is with balance rather than weight. Also some ankle and hip mobility
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Why are there so many mirrors in hotels?

I like my house without mirrors.


I suppose I needed this reality check. I knew that I needed to lose weight, but it didn’t feel like it was that much or that it was such a big deal.


yea well. It is. And will need to become one of my main goals. Mostly, I need to acknowledge it and not let it drag me down into a spiral of despair.


Posting a reminder of the fact that I am capable of losing weight and getting to where I want to be.







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14 July



Didn't have space to pack my journal, so this is the substitute. Still working to not let the realisation of just how bad my weight gain has been get me down too much, but that combined with being away from my most favourite person is not helping much. For today, I'll just keep myself distracted and from next week fully jump into figuring out how I'm going to deal with it. 



Ironically enough, travelling is keeping me from snacking on unhealthy things since they're not available. I don't do too badly at home for the most part, but having no "bad" snacks is better than a few.

I'm not expecting today to be the most healthy of eating days with hotel food and a work function, but it's a once off, so not going to let it bother me too much. 



Had a pretty bad headache after the flight and heat yesterday, but managed to do two sets of my bodyweight workout. I'm glad that I'm in a place where I WANT to fight through a headache rather than just accepting it as a reason to not work out. 



  • Figured out the form issue with my bodyweight rows
  • Flight and everything went smoothly
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15 July



Still not in the greatest headspace at the moment. 


Not great, but I didn’t over-eat. Just too many liquid calories yesterday, but that was a once off due to company function 



Only did one set of my workout. My leg muscles are painfully tense at the moment - thinking of going for a Chinese massage which tends to include myofascial release.

Once it’s been done properly once, I should be able to keep up.

Now for a halfway restful weekend. Flying home today, which will be tiring enough.

Tomorrow is time to cook bulk lunch.


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16 + 17 July:



Feeling a bit...fragile? It's difficult to describe. 



Weekend wasn't horrible. Cooked bulk lunch for the week



No fitness scheduled for the weekend, so not much to report there.



  • I got home on Sunday to see that the husband and daughter did some much needed cleaning -  it still brings a smile to my face
  • Feeling a bit less tight after a massage yesterday - I need to go back again, since there was too much tightness to deal with in one session, but a bit better already


  • Calves are still rather tight - a bit worried that I'll struggle enough with exercise to be demotivating


The Week Ahead:

Making a few changes after realising just how much I need to lose weight - doing a challenge of no liquid sugar (real or fake) for 100 days, with exceptions allowed on the rare occasion when we go out for dinner.

I haven't quite figured out food yet. So for the time being the main goal will be to cut out sweets during the day with 1 small snack allowed in the evenings. 

I'm relatively sure that the snack I relied on the most in the past (similar to beef jerky) is partially responsible for my migraines. I need to test again, but it makes me a bit sad. It helped me so much to not feel hungry and avoid snacking on sweets. 

Anyways. So two main goals for Nutrition this week will be to stay away from sweets and to figure out how I am going to deal with cutting on calories.


I'm not too sure about exercise yet - as mentioned earlier, my calves are still bothering me - walking was incredibly painful over the weekend and I don't want to get back to that. I did want to look at increasing my steps, but now I'm not entirely sure if I should just yet. I think maybe this week will be an easy week where the focus remains on continuing the habit of getting changed into workout clothes and doing at least one rep of each exercise and add to that to do daily foam rolling for at least my shins.                                        


ETA: Looking back over the last few months, I'm setting a goal of 2000 steps a day.  Yes, it's not much, but it's a start - at the end of this week, I'll take the daily average to decide on a goal for next week - aiming for a1%-5% increase each week. 

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18 July



Still struggling and I'm not sure why. 



We won't speak about the pizza that was for dinner, but went well otherwise. Stuck to having only one sweet snack and didn't go overboard with that - definitely miss the sugar with my current MH slump. Switching to 20/4 IF to see how that works out. 



Workout went well - still having to do assisted squats rather than normal ones - the balance issue still. Posture issue with kettle bell rows have been sorted which is good. 



  • Happy to have sorted out kb rows posture
  • Completed first of the major goals for July - finished reading Atomic Habits


Upcoming day:

Feeling like I have a bit of a cold, so will have to see how that progresses and decide how to handle exercise. At least, still change into workout clothes and maybe just do foam rolling instead of exercising. All sorts of strange aches and pains as well. Calf muscles are not happy still. Knee is aching, probably due to the cold. So yea, not feeling too positive about exercise today. 

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19 July


Still heading downward. Struggling with some strange aches and pains that aren't quite muscular, but bothersome. Inchworms were a no-go yesterday. On the bright side - 2000 steps may not be many, but I actually did a few extra walks around the trampoline yesterday to make sure that I got my steps - I call that progress. I suppose that is the purpose of the 1% improvements that James Clear talks about - it's easy to add a small number of steps and accomplish walking them. Just a little bit extra over what I did yesterday - eventually I'll get to 10k steps, but it will feel like I only needed to make one tiny little change to get there.


Need to figure out a goals and rewards system. found a decent starting kit for powerlifting, but it goes for more than $1000 (or 18 000 in my currency). Includes a rack, bench, bar and 80kg in plates. 

A significant amount of money to save up - and it won't stop there - weight plates are expensive as well.


I probably really should try the whole powerlifting thing in a gym first. Maybe I'll do it once and discover that I hate it. I have time to decide though. Right now, I'm weak enough to barely being able to lift the bar, nevermind weights - and that is something that I can work on without spending too much money. 

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20 July


My meetings yesterday were at such unfortunate times. Workout was going to have to wait until after work - unfortunately my lunch disagreed with me. I didn't feel well enough to work out, but in the spirit of building the habit, I went to my usual exercise area and practiced a few squats - slowly working to getting those right - especially since that is what is being covered in Starting Strength at the moment. 


Starting a new push/pull/legs exercise thing today - quite a bit more work than the workouts so far, but I'll start slow and work my way  up. Also have an adjustable set of dumbbells that converts into a barbell arriving today. Should be an interesting addition.


Nutrition is not doing too badly - sticking to no snacks during the day and my one sweet snack in the evening - probably had a little more than I should have last night, but, not too horrible.

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I'm feeling restless. 

Didn't get much done exercise wise yesterday, but stuck to the habit which is good.


I'm finding that I'm wishing that there was a set way to track my progress, but with where I am at with fitness, I really need to just stick with the basic grind. Get all the muscles used to exercising again. There will be progress, just not as easily trackable as I would like. 


idk - there is plenty to feel good about. My eating has been decent - especially with cutting out snacks. Doing well on the no liquid sugar. 

It's just the exercising that's leaving me a bit bleh. 


Aiming for a stretching day today, I think - need to do some hip and ankle mobility work for my squats. Yes, I may be somewhat obsessed with them at the moment. 


I somewhat feel like I need some sort of challenge, but at the same time, there is a voice in my head that is telling me that, for now, it is more important to get the basics right. So yea. ijdk.

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Feeling rather discouraged at the moment. I don't know why, but suddenly having back problems - similar to what was diagnosed as a slipped disc many years ago. Was still fine Friday morning and at some point after lunch the pain stared - sitting hurt, walking hurt.

Slept most of Saturday and had a birthday lunch yesterday,  starting out yesterday it was ok, but by the end after all the walking, was quite a bit of pain again.


It's been feeling like I've finally made progress to getting into the habit of exercising. Sure, I didn't feel like it on quite a few days and I complained about it (esp in the cold), but I did it. Only for it to now be interrupted by an injury. Pain levels will probably dictate what I will end up doing, but maybe some stretches and things that are specifically aimed at the condition. 


Walking went relatively well last week - I was planning on upping it to 2500 steps a day for this week which seemed a bit more accurate, but now that will probably be on hold. 


I need to just fight the discouragement. Stick with the good habits that I can - good nutrition being one of the most important. 

I also want to re-read Atomic Habits - so much good advice in there. 

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I'm sorry your back is injured. Building your nutrition habit is a great plan. Also, maybe during the time you were exercising, try some  core exercises for your back (dead bugs, hollow hold,  plank) if you can, or just stretching. That way, you are still working on the habit of spending that time working out.


On an earlier post, you talked about your frustration with the fact that when you took video you realized your form was not as good as you'd thought. I had this issue too . I think most people do. It's really hard to feel what you are doing. I think it's just one of those things that improves with practice. After doing lots of videos, I think I am getting better at feeling more what my body is doing. It's great that you took video! 

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Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind' Luke 10; 27

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25 July


As expected, didn't get much done yesterday due to the back. On a positive note though, I stuck to the habit of getting changed and replaced with workout with some stretches that are supposed to be helpful for my back.

It's still sore today and I find that more walking means more pain - so, sadly my walking goals are also having to take a back-burner for now. 


It's time to starting thinking of challenges for August, but I'm finding that I'm struggling a bit with the thought of my back still being sore. I would really hope that it is sorted out before the end of the week.

Currently pondering somehow translating my Wheel of Time (books) obsession into a challenge somehow. Not too sure how yet though.



Overall, I feel that I made good progress in July - the first week was wonky with missing three workouts, but since then, I've missed only one this past Friday due to severe back pain. So, I think I am definitely making progress on making exercise a habit. 

I finished reading Atomic Habits and will probably read through it a second time. 

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26 July


Between the cold and doing too much on Monday, I was in quite a bit of pain yesterday. Had to call it a day about half-way through the day and go lie down with painkillers.

I did order and receive a Happy Hugger yesterday, which will hopefully help with pain management today, but not planning on any exercising today.

Looks like I'm just going to have to ride it out - if there is no improvement by Friday, I'll head to the doctor, which probably means physio in my future.

And then hoping that I can come back from that to continue building the exercise habit.  Time will tell.


Nutrition is not bad - no bulk lunch this week, so lunch may have been nuts. Resisted the urge to drown my sorrows in chocolate yesterday and had only a little bit more than my usual daily allotment.

Still going on no liquid sugar - yesterday was day 10 


Didn't make my steps yesterday, but still a bit surprised with how many I had (around 1600, I think) - clearly I was drinking too much water 🤣😂

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Been a bit of a sulky day today.

scale tells me that I’ve gained weight and the doctor that my back has a muscle spasm which may or may not be partially the cause for the bladder infection that I also have.


so, I’ve been booked off for the next 7 days - no work, no exercise.


I’m allowing myself a day (maximum two) to wallow since I’m not enjoy the thought that I’ll essentially have to start over, but then it’s time to plan the new month, even if it’s only starting around 5 August for me.

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Checking in for consistency sake.


needless to say that yesterday wasn’t the greatest of days nutritionally, but it also wasn’t as bad as it would have been a few

weeks ago. I’m sure the meds induced sleeping helped, but deciding to not have anything else after dinner was all me.

also happy that I stuck to my no liquid sugar even though I really wanted to to drown my sorrows in some chocolate milk.


I’m hoping it continues, but mentally I’m in a better space than I thought I would be. Rather than giving up, thinking of ways to slowly ease myself back into exercise after next week, just to be sure that my back is where it needs to be.


I might start with farmers carries only at a lighter weight than initially planned and see how it goes from there.



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