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Blueberries

In Which Blueberries Sticks to the Plan

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Not gonna lie... the last challenge was a little rough for me. I've been struggling to come up with goals for myself for this challenge, but what I've realized is that my schedule is going to be a little insane for the entirety of this 6 weeks. Knowing myself as I do, I know that times when the schedule is tight are not good times to take on Bold! New! Initiatives!, so this challenge needs to be about making my life run as smoothly as possible.

I function best on routine. When things get crazy and I start to let basic maintenance things slip, I start to feel overwhelmed. When I start feeling overwhelmed, I let more things slip, which leads to more overwhelmed, more slippage, more overwhelmed, etc. The cycle spins out of control quickly, so we're going to work on keeping things stable.

My starting stats:

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 196.4

Waist: 31.0

Hips: 43.0

Current Working Weights (3x5):

Squat: 147

Bench: 90

OHP: 70

Deadlift (1x5): 197

Diet/Fitness

1. Stick to the Meal Plan

About 6 out of 7 days each week, I find myself scrambling at 5:30 with hungry, whiny kids trying to figure out what's for dinner. We don't really do convenience foods around here, so I've got to find something to cook. If I'm lucky, there's thawed meat in the fridge I can cook. Usually, I'm not lucky and everything's frozen, because I'm not a consistent planner. To make my life easier, I will make weekly meal plans ahead of time so that:

a) I have all the ingredients I need on hand

B) I can prep ahead of time to cut down on the actual daily cooking time

In practical terms, this means I'll need to make a full plan and shopping list at the end of each week so that I can shop and prep at some point over the weekend.

+3 WIS (and if it works as intended, +75 Sanity)

2. Stick to the Workout Plan

Lift all the things! Mentioned above, I function best on a regular routine. With the way my schedule falls right now, that means I have time for workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Heavy lifting (continue SS progression) at least 2x per week with the third open for a lighter lifting session or something else if I'm just not feeling it. Cutting a little more heavily (see goal 3) may mean that I don't have a third heavy lifting session in me, but I do need to make sure I'm doing something active during this time.

+4 STR +1 STA +1 CON

3. Stick to the Fat Loss Plan

I've been itching lately to do a bulk cycle, but from a fat loss perspective, I'm just not quite where I want to be yet. My diet got a little out of control during the last challenge, and I need to make sure I rein this in if I want to keep seeing results (which I do). I don't do "lose X pounds in Y time" goals, so this one is going to be about sticking to my calorie goals (generally net 2000 or so) and making healthy choices. Grading is subjective, but I'll know if I'm on track or not.

+2 CON +1 CHA

Life

4. Stick to the Grocery Budget

Hand in hand with the planning goal goes the grocery budget, but this is big enough for me that it requires being its own goal. Feeding 4 people healthfully (is that a word?) on one income is tough. We've made a lot of sacrifices for me to be able to stay home with the kids, and one of those is that we have a really tight budget. Grocery spending is the category with which I have the most trouble, and I find myself more often than not borrowing from other discretionary categories to make up for the fact that we've gone over on food. Bumping up the budget for this is not an option right now, so I've got to really buckle down and figure out how to live within the limits that we've set.

+3 WIS (+0.5 for each week we do not go over)

Edited by Blueberries
Numbers are tricky, apparently

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Oooh, I like your goals! Your first goal is very similar to my meal planning goal. What's worked for me is getting most of my groceries at the cheapest place I can (for me, that's Aldi's - which is also the fastest, most efficient way to shop for me), then shopping the ads. I find what's on sale for meats/veggies/fruits and try to buy and build plans around those. And when there are specials on canned and frozen foods (for me, that's mostly canned tomatoes and those steam bags of frozen veggies), I buy those in bulk. As long as I stick to the list, this works pretty well for me. It often means eating several meals that week that are all ground beef/ground turkey/pork chops/steaks, etc. (meaning all of my meals are whavever meat is on special). This works for me, but know many kids/husbands wouldn't go for that.

Have you done much with the crockpot? My sister (who's a stay at home mom) does a lot with her crockpot. I find me crockpotting tends to result in cooked-too-long food, but when you're home you can do closer to 6 hours than 9 (which I've found is generally too long). She also does a lot of pre-prep meals that she freezes and can pull out in the morning to cook that night. She got into that habit when she's pregnant, and it seems to work for her. They only eat out on Fridays (her husband picks something up on the way home from work). Otherwise, she always cooks mostly from scratch meals. One day I want to be like her. :)

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Meal planning for the win! It's one of my goals too! I'm in the same boat on wanting to go on a bulking phase, I'm at a point that if I eat perfectly I can still lose weight and up my lifts, but perfectly isn't one of my strong suits, so I get stronger, but lose no weight. Plus I feel like if I lose another 20-30 pounds of fat, that's that much more I can add to my squats haha!

I like the goals lady, good luck on them all!

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Looks like a good plan! And Sanity is a very important stat; I've played RPGs with sanity checks and crit failing those is super fun, if by fun you mean 'has the most interesting results.' :) In real life, on the other hand, you want to make those rolls.

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Nice goals, lots of warriors looking to get food under control in some fashion. Do you have ideas about how you might save money on groceries? Just some random questions to maybe help get you thinking: Do you currently buy in bulk, like from a Costco or Sam's Club? If you buy in bulk and stuff when it's on sale, you could prepare lots of freezable meals and always have homemade/healthy things available, especially when cooking fresh might mean that you need to go to the store for one ingredient (cause if you're like me, that ONE ingredient turns into a $50 trip). Do you have a CSA or anything like that you can do for produce? I've been doing Bountiful Baskets here in SD, and it's worked out pretty well. I just have to work with the veggies they give me that week, which is good in a weird way since I tend to go to the grocery store and buy one of everything in the hopes that I'll eat it. Good luck, share your ideas, I could stand to get my food budget down too.

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I function best on routine. When things get crazy and I start to let basic maintenance things slip, I start to feel overwhelmed. When I start feeling overwhelmed, I let more things slip, which leads to more overwhelmed, more slippage, more overwhelmed, etc.

Oh man, I can relate to this. I love this challenge - good luck!

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Oooh, I like your goals! Your first goal is very similar to my meal planning goal. What's worked for me is getting most of my groceries at the cheapest place I can (for me, that's Aldi's - which is also the fastest, most efficient way to shop for me), then shopping the ads. I find what's on sale for meats/veggies/fruits and try to buy and build plans around those. And when there are specials on canned and frozen foods (for me, that's mostly canned tomatoes and those steam bags of frozen veggies), I buy those in bulk. As long as I stick to the list, this works pretty well for me. It often means eating several meals that week that are all ground beef/ground turkey/pork chops/steaks, etc. (meaning all of my meals are whavever meat is on special). This works for me, but know many kids/husbands wouldn't go for that.

Have you done much with the crockpot? My sister (who's a stay at home mom) does a lot with her crockpot. I find me crockpotting tends to result in cooked-too-long food, but when you're home you can do closer to 6 hours than 9 (which I've found is generally too long). She also does a lot of pre-prep meals that she freezes and can pull out in the morning to cook that night. She got into that habit when she's pregnant, and it seems to work for her. They only eat out on Fridays (her husband picks something up on the way home from work). Otherwise, she always cooks mostly from scratch meals. One day I want to be like her. :)

We have an Aldi's pretty close to my house. I need to check it out. My friend told me this morning that there's another discount grocery place that she wants to show me, so maybe those will help with the budget thing. I tend to buy things we use regularly when they're on sale and stock up. For example, we seem to go through a LOT of chicken, so I keep a stash in the freezer and rotate through it.

I'm terrible about using the crockpot - this could be a major help for me. The only thing I ever use it for is making easy-to-shred chicken, and I had a plan to try it soon for making yogurt. I asked via Facebook about meal-planning strategies, so maybe I'll also ask for crockpot recipes/resources.

Meal planning for the win! It's one of my goals too! I'm in the same boat on wanting to go on a bulking phase, I'm at a point that if I eat perfectly I can still lose weight and up my lifts, but perfectly isn't one of my strong suits, so I get stronger, but lose no weight. Plus I feel like if I lose another 20-30 pounds of fat, that's that much more I can add to my squats haha!

I like the goals lady, good luck on them all!

Thanks, Max! I'm still in the place where I can do both, it's just that they're both so SLOW and I've been working on it for so LONG. I'm with you, though. I think so many things would just be easier if I could get rid of some more weight. The good news is that I'm getting to a place where I really don't have much to lose anymore.

*...dumps glue on Blueberries...*

You should have no problem sticking to things now :D

Aww, thanks! Haha... I can always count on you guys to help out.

Looks like a good plan! And Sanity is a very important stat; I've played RPGs with sanity checks and crit failing those is super fun, if by fun you mean 'has the most interesting results.' :) In real life, on the other hand, you want to make those rolls.

Seriously, I think sanity is a majorly underrated stat! One of the reasons I actually love lifting so much is the simple fact that it keeps me sane. Relatively, anyhow. And given the sheer amount of crazy in my daily life with my two tiny and angry bosses, anything sanity-inducing is a plus.

Nice goals, lots of warriors looking to get food under control in some fashion. Do you have ideas about how you might save money on groceries? Just some random questions to maybe help get you thinking: Do you currently buy in bulk, like from a Costco or Sam's Club? If you buy in bulk and stuff when it's on sale, you could prepare lots of freezable meals and always have homemade/healthy things available, especially when cooking fresh might mean that you need to go to the store for one ingredient (cause if you're like me, that ONE ingredient turns into a $50 trip). Do you have a CSA or anything like that you can do for produce? I've been doing Bountiful Baskets here in SD, and it's worked out pretty well. I just have to work with the veggies they give me that week, which is good in a weird way since I tend to go to the grocery store and buy one of everything in the hopes that I'll eat it. Good luck, share your ideas, I could stand to get my food budget down too.

Seriously, I haven't even peeked into other challenges yet, and I already know of so many meal-planners.

I appreciate the questions to think about! I already sort of buy in bulk, in that when things we use regularly go on sale, I'll stock up. I've definitely got room for improvement there, though. I think another part of my success in the meal-planning & budget part is going to be coming up with some sort of system for keeping track of what we already have on hand and trying to make plans which incorporate those items. We bought a deep freezer before my first son was born, which has been a lifesaver, but things do tend to get lost and forgotten in there. Knowing what we have at a glance would be helpful.

See? Already you've got me headed in the right direction.

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Day 1 in review:

Skipped my lifting workout to go walking with one of my best friends. Could hardly keep up with her (DANG she walks fast...), and we walked for almost two hours. Today, my knees are killing me.

My first day of meal planning was a bust, although I didn't expect to really get into the swing of things for a couple of days. We ended up running all over the place yesterday and didn't get home until about 5 minutes before the boys usually go to bed. Thankfully, there was thawed chicken in the fridge already, so I was able to throw something together really quickly. Need to work on putting a plan for this week together.

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I'm having problems making myself sit down and do my meal plan, I had already planned to cook a meal for my girlfriend last night, and that went well, but I didn't bother thinking about lunch today, so I was left scrambling this morning. Must do better!

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I function best on routine. When things get crazy and I start to let basic maintenance things slip, I start to feel overwhelmed. When I start feeling overwhelmed, I let more things slip, which leads to more overwhelmed, more slippage, more overwhelmed, etc.

This is so me, and such a huge reason for the botching of the last challenge.

If you really want to take the easy way- pick up the book "Saving Dinner" it details week by week by season-

A weekly meal plan including recipe and shopping list! I used to use it all the time!

I second the idea of prepping meals and freezing them. When I had a huge freezer I would put entire meals together and I had at least 30 meals at any given time to choose from. I spent one day a month ( a full day) cooking and packaging them up for the freezer but it was so worth it.

When you're dealing with kids and homework and LIFE, it's so nice to have at least that to fall back on!

You're going to do great! Make it stick woman!

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I'm having problems making myself sit down and do my meal plan, I had already planned to cook a meal for my girlfriend last night, and that went well, but I didn't bother thinking about lunch today, so I was left scrambling this morning. Must do better!

I haven't made much progress on a plan for the week yet, but I do have a plan for tonight and have started prep, which is a start. The good news for me as far as lunches go is that a) my husband buys lunch at work (it's super cheap), B) my preschooler wants a PB&J every day, and c) the littlest one and I just figure it out based on what's at home. So aside from the preschool lunch, I really don't have to worry about packing/planning.

This is so me, and such a huge reason for the botching of the last challenge.

If you really want to take the easy way- pick up the book "Saving Dinner" it details week by week by season-

A weekly meal plan including recipe and shopping list! I used to use it all the time!

I second the idea of prepping meals and freezing them. When I had a huge freezer I would put entire meals together and I had at least 30 meals at any given time to choose from. I spent one day a month ( a full day) cooking and packaging them up for the freezer but it was so worth it.

When you're dealing with kids and homework and LIFE, it's so nice to have at least that to fall back on!

You're going to do great! Make it stick woman!

Thanks, WP! I actually used to have that book (got it as a gift) and didn't really get much use out of it. I think it's that I didn't really love a lot of the recipes I tried, so it just didn't work for me. That's the kind of system I want to have, though. This first week is kind of going to be my getting-started week, with the intention that next week is when it kicks in to full swing. I do need to make much better use of the big freezer.

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I love that blog! I want the book!

I'm really interested to see how your planning works out. I have 0 life and 0 other people to incorporate so I can spend as much or as little time as I want and also eat the same thing daily (which I basically do). Much harder with a family, I expect. Go you!

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I need to check out Well Fed. I feel like I've heard of it somewhere before...

Laura, how do you and your boyfriend handle food (you live together, yes?) planning/prep? Everyone for themselves? I eat the same things quite often, especially when it comes to lunches. I try to keep shredded chicken in the fridge so I can make chicken salad and be done with it. The boys are harder. I don't know where I'm going wrong, but they keep wanting to be fed. Every day! Haha... it seems like I'm always either working on feeding somebody or working on cleaning up from feeding somebody. It's enough to drive a girl crazy sometimes.

The weird thing about me is that while I function best on a routine, making schedules and doing all the advance planning is not really in my nature. So it's really hard for me to get all the things done that need to get done in order for everything to run smoothly. I realized today that my biggest dinner challenges are going to be Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, pretty consistently. So knowing that, I'm hoping I can put something into place where those nights have minimal prep or grab-and-go dinners.

I lifted this morning, and it sucked. As it turns out it's not a great idea to forget about eating dinner the night before a workout. In my defense, it's because after the boys went to bed, I went boot shopping instead of eating dinner. Which is really not a great defense, but my Pinterest closet requires that I find awesome fall boots. :)

Today's Sucky Workout

Squats (3x5 at 147)

Air squats

45 x 5

45 x 5

65 x 5

95 x 3

115 x 2

--------------

Calf raises: 167 x 12

--------------

147 x 4

147 x 3

135 x 5 <- Decided 147 was just not happening today

135 x 3

Bench (3x5 at 90)

45 x 5

45 x 5

50 x 5

55 x 3

65 x 2

90 x 5

90 x 4

90 x 3

90 x 2

Deadlift (1x5 at 197)

197 x Fail

197 x Fail <- No, really. I couldn't even budge either rep from the ground.

187 x 3

187 x 2

Assisted Chin Ups (70lb assist)

70 x 3

70 x 3

70 x 2

Assisted Dips (70lb assist)

70 x 3

70 x 2

Hang Snatch with PVC

Just because I'd been talking with a new trainer about the Oly lifts

5 or 10 reps

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+1000 for the crock pot. I use it all the time and it really is my favorite appliance in the kitchen for sure. Soups, stews, chili can be made with minimal prep effort and you walk away for 6-8 hours. Plus the house smells fantastic. I make pulled chicken / enchilada soups usually once a week at least. It basically frees up 1-2 nights a week (sometimes 3 if I get adventurous) as all I have to do is throw it in in the morning before work and when I get home, dinner is ready! I'll see if I can dig up some yummy crock pot recipes that I use for you to try out.

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I need to check out Well Fed. I feel like I've heard of it somewhere before...

Laura, how do you and your boyfriend handle food (you live together, yes?) planning/prep? Everyone for themselves? I eat the same things quite often, especially when it comes to lunches. I try to keep shredded chicken in the fridge so I can make chicken salad and be done with it. The boys are harder. I don't know where I'm going wrong, but they keep wanting to be fed. Every day! Haha... it seems like I'm always either working on feeding somebody or working on cleaning up from feeding somebody. It's enough to drive a girl crazy sometimes.

The weird thing about me is that while I function best on a routine, making schedules and doing all the advance planning is not really in my nature. So it's really hard for me to get all the things done that need to get done in order for everything to run smoothly. I realized today that my biggest dinner challenges are going to be Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, pretty consistently. So knowing that, I'm hoping I can put something into place where those nights have minimal prep or grab-and-go dinners.

I lifted this morning, and it sucked. As it turns out it's not a great idea to forget about eating dinner the night before a workout. In my defense, it's because after the boys went to bed, I went boot shopping instead of eating dinner. Which is really not a great defense, but my Pinterest closet requires that I find awesome fall boots. :)

Her blog, The Clothes Make the Girl, is awesome. I have a level 2 girl crush.

We do live together, yes. We basically buy and make food for ourselves. We've both always had such specific diets (and training plans) that it's never worked for us to shop together and eat the same things. It's way helpful now that I've started eating meat (btw, a year ago this month :sniffle: ) but he still eats fattier cuts and more red meat than I care for. So, our main work food meal type stuff we do separately and we buy and share a bunch of stuff like staples or something yummy we want to make for date night. Stuff like that.

I always look at couples in the grocery store and wonder how that works. I am intrigued!

Hahaha Oh, I hear you! I was the same way. But, like all things, small changes will eventually result in the change you want.

Hmmm sounds like Tues-Thurs would be great freezable or crockpot meal days! It's getting to be that time! (well, it's always crock pot time for me but yeah haha)

Sorry abuot the bummer lift! I hate when that happens! But hey, if they were all awesome you'd never truly appreciate the "beat Chuck Norris at arm wrestling" workouts :)

I bought new boots, too!!!! hahahahaha I've wanted some for so long! I wanted to wear them today but it's like 85 degrees... I did wear them Monday and Tuesday, though hehehe Where'd you find them?

My pinterest closet is so awesome. I need it to be my real closet.

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images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSqs74TP1xDgl6owywUuN9bkrvqryy45dOyIuYQeBDnIyytOGpJ7_qKDZe5yQ

Cookies? I'm so in.

+1000 for the crock pot. I use it all the time and it really is my favorite appliance in the kitchen for sure. Soups, stews, chili can be made with minimal prep effort and you walk away for 6-8 hours. Plus the house smells fantastic. I make pulled chicken / enchilada soups usually once a week at least. It basically frees up 1-2 nights a week (sometimes 3 if I get adventurous) as all I have to do is throw it in in the morning before work and when I get home, dinner is ready! I'll see if I can dig up some yummy crock pot recipes that I use for you to try out.

Yay! I would love that. I don't know why I haven't thought of trying to make better use of it, but it's looking a little bit like becoming better friends with my crockpot could change my life. Thank you!!

Her blog, The Clothes Make the Girl, is awesome. I have a level 2 girl crush.

We do live together, yes. We basically buy and make food for ourselves. We've both always had such specific diets (and training plans) that it's never worked for us to shop together and eat the same things. It's way helpful now that I've started eating meat (btw, a year ago this month :sniffle: ) but he still eats fattier cuts and more red meat than I care for. So, our main work food meal type stuff we do separately and we buy and share a bunch of stuff like staples or something yummy we want to make for date night. Stuff like that.

I always look at couples in the grocery store and wonder how that works. I am intrigued!

Hahaha Oh, I hear you! I was the same way. But, like all things, small changes will eventually result in the change you want.

Hmmm sounds like Tues-Thurs would be great freezable or crockpot meal days! It's getting to be that time! (well, it's always crock pot time for me but yeah haha)

Sorry abuot the bummer lift! I hate when that happens! But hey, if they were all awesome you'd never truly appreciate the "beat Chuck Norris at arm wrestling" workouts :)

I bought new boots, too!!!! hahahahaha I've wanted some for so long! I wanted to wear them today but it's like 85 degrees... I did wear them Monday and Tuesday, though hehehe Where'd you find them?

My pinterest closet is so awesome. I need it to be my real closet.

Hmm, yeah we pretty much all eat the same things for dinner... I just tend to eat smaller portions and/or avoid some of the starchier things. My husband really isn't picky, and the boys are both pretty good eaters, so I'm lucky in that regard. He does keep some things in the house that I just stay out of (I'm looking at you, Mint Oreos), but for the most part everything is for everyone. He also knows that there are some things that are not to be brought into the house under any circumstance, because I apparently lack willpower.

Boots! I'm so excited about them... I'm rocking them with tights and my denim skirt today, even though I think it's 80. I don't even care. I got these, although I was originally looking for a more chocolate-y brown pair. Honestly, as cheap as they are, I can probably justify finding another darker pair also. I have a wide calf AND I wear a size 11, so finding something that fit me and looked good was miraculous!

Seriously, I am loving Pinterest for the fashion ideas. I still blame you for getting me hooked, but now it's more of an, "OMGILOVEYOU" kind of blame.

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Woo snatch practice!

And those are pretty nice boots too. I'm looking forward to the weather getting colder so I can wear the boots that I got in Italy, but right now I don't want to wear socks, never mind boots to the knee.

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So you know how sometimes you're totally fine, and then you suddenly feel like you got hit by a truck and will be sick on the couch for at least the next day? Yeah, could have lived without that tonight.

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