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Mistr's progress towards leveling up


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I just completed my first challenge. :joyous:   This is where I will be tracking progress toward my long-term goals.

 

I started out in pretty good shape.  I do aikido twice a week and work out at lunch three or four days a week.  I have about 15 extra pounds that I would really like to get rid of.  That would get me back to my previous in-good-shape weight.  I also want to get more flexible, stronger and have better aerobic capacity.

 

Things I learned in my first challenge:

  • Being in an accountability team really works for me.  Go Elysian Knights!  On days when I was wavering I made an extra effort so that I would not have to report that I slipped up.
  • Doing anything every day for six weeks is not realistic.  I need to plan in rest days and give myself a little slack.
  • Keeping track of progress in small increments works really well for me.  "Just one more rep" is my friend.
  • Banning things does not work for me.  I get contrary if I feel deprived.  Positive requirements work much better.

 

Character info:  Level 2  Viking paladin  STR 3 DEX 1  STA 3  CON 3  WIS 2  CHA 1

 

I am still trying to figure out what guild to join for the next challenge.  My goals are for improving my eating habits, strength and flexibility.  I do martial arts all the time.  Getting better at aikido is part of my life, not a goal.  I don't know if the Monks would be a good fit.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Looking forward to the next challenge

 

Overall goal: get into awesome shape and do the interesting things that I have been putting off.

 

Possible goals for the next challenge:

- Cook large batches of healthy food at least twice a week.

Healthy eating has been a challenge for me for a long time.  My cooking skills are much better than my meal planning skills.  I also don't want to devote a lot of time to cooking during the week.  My main meal of the day is at lunch.  I frequently go straight from work to aikido and don't eat much dinner.

 

- Experiment with food groups.  I want to try not eating dairy for several days at time.  I've been getting a lot of gas from something recently.  I might also try leaving out other food groups.

 

- Treats during free time only.  My work provides a lot of treats.  I also tend to snack when I am stressed or want to avoid working on something.  I hardly ever snack on weekends.  I suspect that dropping sweets at work would go a long way towards losing weight.  I will still have fruit and veggie snacks.  Savory snacks will be allowed.  Eating food with sugar will be allowed at home so long as it is homemade.  No purchased sweets.  Exception for chocolate.  If I can't have chocolate I don't want to be part of your revolution.

 

- Flexibility.  Include new flexibility routines and be consistent about doing the ones from my physical therapist.  Work on ankles, legs, shoulders, wrists and neck.

 

- Stamina.  Include at least one interval training session a week.

 

- Strength.  Continue with bodyweight exercises.  Progress towards pull-ups and push-ups.  Goal of doing inverted rows with the bar at table height and 10 full push-ups.  Probably knuckle push-ups because standard ones bother my wrists.

 

Exercise goals will be modified to fit the new Nerd Fitness Academy program and an assessment with my physical therapist.

 

Life goal from last challenge:  I signed up to take a piano class that goes for six weeks starting 9/17.  How cool is that!  My regular piano teacher is teaching an extension course.  She suggested I take it.  Six weeks of 90 minute group classes for the price of three x one hour lessons.  Sure!  My goal will be to keep up with the homework.

 

I would really like my waist and hip measurements to go down.  I am not going to list those as goals this time because my specific goals are for life-style improvements, not immediate results. 

 

I also want to continue getting enough sleep.  That was my least successful goal last time.  I'm going to put that in the background this time.  If I backslide I will make it a goal two months from now.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Mid-challenge update

 

So far I have learned:

 

- Getting enough sleep was a very good choice as a first area of my life to fix.  I have been doing much better on going to bed on time. Not surprisingly, I have more energy.  I still need to avoid temptation to do "just one more thing" before bed.

 

- My eating habits are part of a big complicated tangle of time, stress and expectations.  This is going to take work from several directions. 

 

- Positive change works better than restriction for me. I can pass up sugary temptations if I have better food to look forward to.

 

- Making progress in strength and flexibility is very motivating for me.  So is eliminating pain.  The pain part is much more immediate than any possible improvements in how I look.  I can tell that I am stronger and moving more smoothly in the last three months.  Yay!

 

- Balancing time looks like the best angle to attack next.  I want to work out, to eat healthy, and to have a life.  This is the tricky part.  Sometimes there is a trade-off between taking the time to exercise or to cook.  Sitting still once in a while would be nice too.  I can't remember the last time I had a free day to play computer games.  Probably the last time I was travelling for work, two years ago.

 

- I need to make positive changes in my eating in ways that carry my family along.  I can't count on them to do any of the cooking or cleaning up.  Real improvement has to be more important to me than an ideal fair division of labor in the household. I can hope that this bet will pay off with my family getting onboard the NF bandwagon.

 

- I need to expand my cooking repertoire.  I knew this before.  I need more high protein things to cook for breakfast and snacks and more things to do with veggies.  Bonus points for fast or crockpot food.  I like baking.  I hate having to stir things on the stove and keep them from burning.  I prefer recommendations from friends to reading cookbooks (or forums) and guessing if I would like a recipe.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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I saw my physical therapist on Friday after 10 days.  I made the mistake of telling her that the leg lifts did not seem to be doing much.  I asked for it.  Now she has me doing harder versions to the point of muscle fatigue.

 

On Saturday I did the entire set of exercises from beginning to end.  Total time = 2 hours.

There is no real way to speed it up because the point for many of them is to hold a position until my muscles scream for mercy.  More time means progress.  All the moves are supposed to be slow and controlled with at least a two second hold at the top of the range of motion.  I am using resistance bands for some.  Those I can make progress by moving to a harder level without increasing the time.

 

In practice I am going to have to rotate through the exercises.  I meet with her again tomorrow.  I'll see what she says.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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I am taking advantage of time change to move my sleeping schedule.  This lets me exercise for ~30 minutes in the morning.  I noticed over the last couple months that I tend to wake up at 5:30am when I am mostly getting enough sleep.  There must be something in the house or the neighborhood that makes noise then. I can make use of this.

 

My new plan is to coordinate exercise sessions.  On days when I do aikido I will exercise in the morning and have my lunch time free.  On days when I don't have aikido I can exercise in the morning, at lunch or both.  Hopefully the flexibile schedule will help me feel like exercise is supporting my life and not dominating it.

 

I have a good area for working out at home. No one else is up at the crack of dawn so I can groan and do contortions without an audience.  I have a 65cm exercise ball, a ~15cm kid's ball, push-up stands and a mat.  It turns out that I can put the piano bench near the couch to do hamstring curls with a resistance band.  I leave the house mostly dark and don't really have to wake up.

 

I am also going to start a new logging scheme.  I ordered spiral notebooks with grid ruled pages.  Such things theoretically exist at office supply or bookstores.  Not around here.  I checked five stores downtown last Tuesday and four more suburban ones on Saturday.  I only bought one book in the process. :tongue:  Looking at all the options helped me decide what I want in a notebook.  Smaller is better - B6 or 5" x 7" is a good size.  In my perfect world it would have a loop for a pen.  Such notebooks exist, but apparently only as promotional items.  I could get 50 of them with anything I want printed on the cover.  My best option is to go for a spiral binding.  I like the idea of refillable notebooks with nice covers.  All the actual implementations of this are insanely expensive or don't offer grid ruled paper.  I am going to dig up some colored pens so that I can easily scan for planning information among the log entries.  Considering how much time I invested in the search, I hope I really like these when they show up.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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I did very little exercise over the winter holidays.  Too much traveling and time at relatives' houses.  Also too much staying up late reading and sleeping in.  Surprisingly, my knee did not complain about many hours in the car. Previous road trips I had a lot of trouble. I hope this means the exercise is paying off.  I will start getting back in the swing of things tomorrow to be ready for the challenge start on Monday.

 

Overall my third challenge went very well.

+2 Str  +1 Dex +2 Sta +3 Con +5 Wis from the challenge, + 1 Cha from the Ranger Mini-challenge

 

My next challenge will focus on balance.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Progress update and mini-challenge

 

- As I hoped, my family is getting on board with the improved eating habits.  They are even doing more cooking. :)  I am getting better at the large batch food preparation.

 

- I have been mostly consistent about exercising.  The knee PT exercises pay off in less knee pain.  I need to work on aerobic endurance and flexibility.

 

- Sleep is a challenge for me.  I have been getting about 7.5 hours a night during the week.  I am more cheerful and productive when I get 8 hours.  The problem is going to bed on time.  I find myself wanting to get more done or take more time doing something fun when I ought to be heading to bed.  I need to keep working on this.

 

- Logging food and exercise is working well for me.  That will help moving forward.

 

- My experiment with not snacking in the mornings at work taught me a lot.  I tell myself I want food when really I want to avoid stressful or tedious work.  I am getting plenty to eat at breakfast.  I can make it to 11:30am without getting hungry.  Not snacking makes me feel better physically.  I can feel the start of a sugar headache if I eat too much dessert at lunch.  When I eat too much sugar or carbs I get a sleepy spell about an hour later. Good planning can help me avoid my emotional reasons for eating.

 

- In spite of my healthier diet I have not been losing weight.  I need to give up my resistance to calorie counting and take a hard look at how much I am eating.

 

Mini-challenge for April 7-13

 

No sugar.  I want to see how I handle no sugar for one week.  This is an experiment, not a long-term committment.

 

Zena asked if I will allow fruit. Yes, but only as much as I eat normally.  My rationale on this is that some veggies taste sweeter to me than fruit. Sweet potatos for example.  I find cherry tomatos to be sweeter than grapes.  I know tomatos are really fruits.  What I am getting at is that the distinctions between fruits and veggies are arbitrary.  I have an apple in the afternoon two or three days a week. I will leave out fruit entirely for the first couple days.  I am more concerned about substituting simple carbs (bread products) than I am about fruit.

 

The big things for me are chocolate and cookies.  If I desperately crave chocolate I can always have a square or two of Callebaut baking chocolate. I like dark chocolate without sugar.

 

Rules:  No sweets.  No candy, cookies, baked goods. No alcohol.  Very limited bread and tortillas.  Politely avoid treats at social occassions.  Limited fruit and sweet veggies.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Day 2 of my no sugar mini-challenge - Observations so far

 

Monday I ate a medium-sized bowl of chicken soup for breakfast. I was hungry at lunch time.  That is a good sign that I was not overeating.  I went for a walk at lunch because it was a nice day and the exercise room is still under remodeling.  They put in rubberized floor tiles, painted the walls and replaced the drop ceiling.  It looks nice, except that most of the equipment is still out in the hallway.  I enjoyed hearing the birds and frogs.  Almost all the snow is gone but the plants are not showing any signs of spring yet.  I got winded walking up the hill.  I have never gotten winded on that walk before.  Bad sign.

 

I ate a smallish lunch and was still hungry.  I keep rice cakes in my desk for just this circumstance.  I don't snack on them.  They are not appealing unless I am actually hungry.  I felt better after that.  Maybe I just needed more carbs.  I was hungry again by 4:15 and ate an apple.  By the time I got home at 6:15 I was seriously considering stopping for take-out.  A brief consultation with my family led to us heading out to the local Mexican place for burritos.  They make big burritos.  I felt much better after that.  I probably only needed half of what I ate.

 

The interesting part is that I wanted chocolate when I got home.  Not from hunger - by then I was stuffed.  I wanted it for emotional reasons before working on my taxes.  I resisted and got through the info search with short breaks to read.

 

This morning I ate a larger breakfast so that I would not get hungry early.  That worked.  I still wanted a snack at 10am after our department meeting.  All emotional, no physical basis.  Today is going better than yesterday and I got over it easily.  In the afternoon a colleague put out chocolate.  So far I am successfully ignoring it.  I think I was right that the emotional issues are more imporant for me than the physical ones.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Most of the way through the work week and I have noticed some things.  I have not eaten any processed sugar.  I have had fruit - several pieces of pineapple with lunch and an apple in the late afternoon.  While these are sweet, I don't get the sugar rush from them that I get from chocolate or baked goods.

 

Observation 1

I have a habit of eating snacks when I am bored or stressed. I can predict when I am going to want something sweet.  Clearly I have been using sugar to make myself feel better.  When I look closely I can tell that I don't actually feel hungry.

 

Observation 2

I have not had any serious sugar cravings.  One of my coworkers brought in candy eggs.  I ignored them easily.  I wanted chocolate, but that was for drug value, not for the sugar.

 

Observation 3

I have to plan meals a little differently to make sure I get enough carbs.  While I am allowing fruit, I am not allowing white bread.  Two days this week I was still hungry an hour after lunch and ate a rice cake.  The Lundberg puffed brown rice with salt kind, not the sweetened kind.  I felt much better afterwards.  The all meat and veggies diet is tasty, but it leave me craving carbs.  I made a dish with kielbasa sausage and potatos last night to fill the carb niche.  I had it for lunch today.  Yum.  I did not feel like eating an apple in the afternoon.

 

So far, so good.  It has been pretty easy to avoid snacking at work.  I am eating all the other food I want so that I am not worried about being hungry.  I'm getting hungry about an hour before meals. That is a good sign. I'll see how it goes on the weekend when I am closer to temptation.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Thanks for the link.  It has a good diagram of the anatomy of the knee.  I still have trouble keeping all the muscles straight.

 

Today was my between-challenge check in with the trainer at work.  My weight is down a lot.  About 7 pounds since 2/24, or seven weeks.  My waist is down 2 inches and my hips are down an inch.

 

It looks like not eating sugar is doing the trick.  I'm eating as much as I want of everything else.  Go figure.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Thanks for the link.  It has a good diagram of the anatomy of the knee.  I still have trouble keeping all the muscles straight.

 

Today was my between-challenge check in with the trainer at work.  My weight is down a lot.  About 7 pounds since 2/24, or seven weeks.  My waist is down 2 inches and my hips are down an inch.

 

It looks like not eating sugar is doing the trick.  I'm eating as much as I want of everything else.  Go figure.

 

Congratulations!  A pound a week is good sustainable progress and the measurements are more telling :-)

Behave yourself, badly if necessary.
 

Current Challenge

Judo - Shodan

My Character

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I have been getting back to speed on exercising and regular life after the Memorial Day weekend socializing break. Today was intervals on the exercise bike. By next week I want to be riding my bike outside. Wasting beautiful weather indoors is stupid.

 

My work does an annual "Know your numbers" health assessment. I'm not sure how much faith I put in the results. My numbers are pretty good but vary quite a lot from year to year. Thursday I have my between-challenge check-in with my trainer. I trust her to be consistent.

 

I got eight hours sleep last night and had a very product day at work. More proof that sleep is key. I even got home and had motivation left to go outside and work on the garden. I hoed the weeds out of the strawberry bed and pulled the Queen Anne's lace that was trying to take over the herb garden. On Sunday I mowed the back yard and bagged the clippings.  I could even pretend that I let the grass get too long before mowing it just because I needed mulch for the garden. Sadly, not true. Even so, the yard and garden both look much better. I can walk on the path through the herb garden to the compost pile without wanting a machete.

 

To finish off a good day, I finally updated my challenge.  I still have to get caught up with my friends, but I'll save that fun part for tomorrow.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Medium term progress update

 

lnQJpPX.jpg?1

 

The figure above shows how much progress I've made since the beginning of the year. I need to dig up my previous log notebook to get the full data on my long term weight change. The summer and fall of 2014 my weight was between 156-159 lbs. Things got stressful at work in 2015 and my weight started creeping back up. We hired new people at work and things got better by the end of the year. Then Elf moved in at New Year's and things got better at home.

 

I think most of the change can be credited to less stress. I tend to eat sweets when I'm stressed. I also was having trouble with the rat race of drinking coffee and not getting enough sleep.

 

I don't know what was happening with the one weigh in at 154.4 at the end of February. I weighed myself twice because I didn't believe it at the time. I donated blood the next day. You would think that would tend to lower my weight for the week. Maybe my body took that as a danger sign and overcompensated. My eating habits haven't changed. 

 

I really like how I look around 156 compared to around 160. My clothes fit better. This morning I put on a pair of dress slacks that I haven't worn in a while. They were so loose that I could pull them off without unbuttoning them. Those went back in my closet and I got out a pair of jeans that only fit when I'm at my slimmest. The jeans are snug enough to remind me I still have a few pounds to loose. At some point later this year I would like my weight to be fluctuating around 152-154.

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Following so I don't lose you again...

RES...and I want to live days worth dying for...

Current: RES: CUTE 2021 - is consistent

Spoiler

Growth happens when you care more about the well being of your future self than the comfort of your present self!

"Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is." -Yoda

 

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On 6/19/2016 at 2:27 PM, Kishi said:

Oi, oi! You still moving over here or what?

 

Yep, just moving slow.

 

Week of June 12-18 - Recovery from vacation

 

I gained 3.0 pounds in two weeks from eating out and sitting in a car too much. I hope to deal with that promptly by getting back to my normal routine. I dropped 0.6 pounds between Sunday and Monday just in water weight.

 

Work was busy enough that I had no spare time to check NF or post. My evening and weekend time was even more booked. By Sunday afternoon I was cranky from lack of unscheduled time. That finally happened yesterday (10 days after I got back). My sleep was rocky because my knees are swollen and achey from all the car time.

 

Exercise: 5/5 days knee/core/weights at lunch, weapons practice, aikido 3 days plus teaching

Zen: 25+25+14+15+11=90 minutes  Shorter sessions than normal because my knees were complaining a lot. Last three sessions with a boken.

 

Family stuff:

Spoiler

Elf broke up with his long-distance boyfriend while we were on vacation. He also got another threatening call from an old "friend" from back home. The threat turned out to be unfounded. A lawyer friend of the family advised him to cut off all contact with people from his home town, including supposed friends. He took a day off work to deal with the mess, but his call in sick was not properly reported to the manager and he lost one of his jobs (Just like what happened to Kishi). 

 

He had pretty much recovered from the bad couple of days by the time we got home. He is getting extra hours at his other job and already applied for and was hired at a new place. They really like him, he got the job at the interview. The new place is much nicer than the one that he quit, although it is further away.

 

I took advantage of the temporary lull in Elf's work schedule to go out for coffee with him. We discussed chores and how things are going around the house. Dumbledore tends to dominate conversations at home and I wanted to give Elf a chance to tell me things directly. I learned that he does not like doing dishes. Cool! I can work with that. I am more than happy to trade dishwashing for cooking. He seems happy with that deal. I will still be doing some of the cooking. Hopefully less as his repertoire improves. We had a good conversation. I am extremely pleased with how Elf is settling in and dealing with the challenges in his life.

 

Dumbledore, Hermes and I had a house dinner on Sunday (Elf had to work). Hermes has been accepted for the professional program he applied to at the community college. He is feeling good about moving forward with his life. I'm pleased both for his sake and because that will keep Elf motivated to get his application done. Elf is still struggling to get all the documents he needs from public records agencies in other states.

 

Dumbledore has been putting in more effort to get things done at home. He is on summer break from teaching until mid-July. Yesterday he cleaned the toaster oven. It was looking like someone had sprayed it with non-stick cooking oil - yuck. I did not say a word, he noticed and took action all on his own. Yay!

 

I am very happy with my family. :D

 

Aikido

I spent most of the weekend at an aikido seminar at a nearby dojo. I was worried that it would be terribly crowded with a high-ranking instructor in a small space. Nope. They limited registration to 25 people and not all of those showed up. We all got to have personal attention from the instructor. His focus was on the aiki part of aikido. Aiki is shared with Daitoryu aiki-jujitsu and Systema. Many aikido schools do not emphasize aiki at all, either because the instructors never learned it from their teachers, or because of the historical split with Ki Society.

 

Nearly half the time was spent listening to the instructor talk. I would have liked more time to practice and fewer interesting stories about the history of the art. A lot of the exercises were difficult and subtle - slow and not aerobic at all. By Sunday morning I was overjoyed to take ukemi when we started applying aiki principles to standard techniques. In spite of the clear opinion of the instructor that we had all missed this valuable information before now, in fact this is the fourth or fifth seminar I've been to that worked on this area. One of the instructors that comes from Japan every year taught similar posture exercises two years ago (and again last summer). Maybe reintroducing aiki is the next big trend in aikido.

  • Like 4

Level 54  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Yay for happy family news :D 

RES...and I want to live days worth dying for...

Current: RES: CUTE 2021 - is consistent

Spoiler

Growth happens when you care more about the well being of your future self than the comfort of your present self!

"Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is." -Yoda

 

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Ah, I got you. Just wanted to make sure I was supporting you in the right place, that's all. I didn't wanna miss out. :)

 

Anyway, sorry to hear that Elf had a hard time. It sounds like things are looking up though and that the unit that is your family is cohering really well.

 

Glad to hear that the training happened and that things went well there too. Seminars are fun. My judo dojo has a camp going right now, which I am not a part of, but I always feel like I should be. Glad that you could be a part of yours.

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How are you feeling now?  Are your knees feeling any better after a week of more normal movement and Aikido?

 

Your family is awesome.  It's always good to see your updates :-)  Congrats to Hermes!   So very glad that Elf has you all now. 

 

Martial arts do tend to have trends, don't we?  Gives you a chance to work on it a fair bit before the next one starts up. 

  • Like 1

Behave yourself, badly if necessary.
 

Current Challenge

Judo - Shodan

My Character

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