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ashcension

Try, Try Again... Ashcension's Round 3

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Hey everyone,

 

I've completed one challenge thus far, but this will be the third that I've attempted. For my second challenge, I got a little bit too overenthusiastic about goal-making, bit off WAY more than I could chew, and ended up choking. So I bowed out of Round 2 but I'm happy to be back here to have the chance to try again :)

 

This time, I won't make the same mistake--I'm going to keep things nice and simple this time.

 

 

QUEST: To become happier, healthier, more confident, and more resilient physically, emotionally, and mentally. That's the most important goal, however I am also hoping to either lose some lbs or inches by the end of this challenge.

 

1. Work out 6 days/week

STR +1, DEX +2, STA +2

 

I will be using the 8 week FitnessBlender.com workout plan (Round 3) as my guide, and for the most part just following along with what it tells me to do each day. However, I'm going to allow wiggle room to accomodate for whatever comes up in my life (substitute hiking if I go on a trip, then jump back into the Fitness Blender plan where I left off). I LOVE Fitness Blender because I NEVER get bored with it. When I was doing Brazil Butt Lift for months at a time, I would start dreading days when I had to do certain workouts, because I'd be so bored from doing it for the hundreth time. Fitness Blender has over 250 workouts for free online!

 

2. Maintain calorie deficit: 1400 max 5 days/week, 1800 max the other 2 days/week (net calories)

CON +2, STA +2

 

I'm not crazy about counting calories, but it has worked before, so I'm guessing it can work again. I have this Lose It! app on my Android that makes it really easy, and knowing I am logging calories is honestly enough to keep me from making the majority of my bad food choices. Although I threw in the towel for the Paleo lifestyle, I do want to continue to eat predominantly healthy, whole foods, lots of veggies and fruits, whole grains, unprocessed food, and the like. Also, I attempted two goals last challenge that involved being moderate with alcohol and chocolate intake. Basically, I'm thinking that having to log how many *calories* I am drinking (sigh, massive quantities of empty calories) may be more effective than giving myself a cut off of how many drinks I'm "allowed" to have on a given night. We shall see...

 

 

3. Meditate for 20 min 5 days/week, and 5 min+ the other 2 days/week

WIS +2, CHA +2

 

I have an account with Yogaglo.com and I love their guided meditations. I also use these Middle Earth meditations that can be found on Youtube. Basically, I've noticed that when I take the time to meditate, I become more at ease with myself, comfortable, confident, and connected with myself. When I don't meditate for a few days, I find myself becoming apathetic, disconnected, and anxious. So meditating basically boosts my chances of being able to succeed in any and every OTHER goal I'm aiming toward. This one is SUPER important.

 

4. Engage in self-care, creativity, leisure reading, or cleaning for 15 min+ on 5 days/week.

WIS +1, CHA +1

 

I know I know, that doesn't seem like it should be too hard, right? Yet somehow I manage to go 5 days at a time without doing any of these things. I've got this job that is basically sucking me dry of the great majority of my mental and emotional energy, so when I get home I often feel like a zombie. My goal is to force myself to do even 15 min of any of these things on a regular basis. I know I will feel a lot better for it.

 

I made a GoogleDocs tracker to help me keep track of how I'm doing: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Am0PC49Jb9sOdDM1dzV1UXp3X1k3ZXhsczJTZlFiU1E&usp=sharing Feel free to check it and cheer me on!

 

*ALSO* I could really use an accountabilibuddy, please message me if you are looking for someone to keep you on track and feel you could do the same for me! :)

 

Good luck everyone!!!

-Ashcension

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Love your main quest and the goals you have!  I hear you on having a job that sucks you out of emotional and mental energy, but I am glad you recognize it and one of your goals is to set aside 15min+ to doing things you enjoy or will help "ground" you again.  I know you'll feel a lot better, too.

 

If you need an accountabilibuddy, I wouldn't mind :)  I am going to follow your thread and give you a push whenever you need it :P

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Google Docs to track your activities?!! YOU'RE A GENIUS!! <3 I'm totally going to steal that!

 

I'd love to be your accountabilibuddy if you'll have me! I'll follow you now :D

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Welcome back Ashcension, I love the title of your challenge!

That's what we do, isn't it?

 

Very wise to scale your goals down even though I have to admit that I think you are pretty ambitious this time as well  :numbness:

 

I like looking at inches instead of kilos (or at photos...)

Your calorie goal seems pretty strict, are you including the calories you consume in your workouts as well?

 

Finally, I am joining you on the alcohol goal  :orange:

We've got this!

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Welcome back!

 

Thats great!

 

Have you read about paleo? If its something for you, you don't have to count calories anymore ;)

Did you use this calorie goals before? I always mention slow, but steady ;)

 

Good luck!

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Love your main quest and the goals you have!  I hear you on having a job that sucks you out of emotional and mental energy, but I am glad you recognize it and one of your goals is to set aside 15min+ to doing things you enjoy or will help "ground" you again.  I know you'll feel a lot better, too.

 

If you need an accountabilibuddy, I wouldn't mind :)  I am going to follow your thread and give you a push whenever you need it :tongue:

Yay, thank you Nirvi! I appreicate it!! I will do the same :)

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Google Docs to track your activities?!! YOU'RE A GENIUS!! <3 I'm totally going to steal that!

 

I'd love to be your accountabilibuddy if you'll have me! I'll follow you now :D

Hey Naaria! I totally stole the formatting for the GoogleDoc from another Nerd Fitnesser during my first challenge back in November :) I'm finding that if it itakes more than like, 20 seconds to log my progress, I'm less likely to log, and if I don't log, I'm less likely to be proactive about my goals! Yay for accountabilibuddies! It looks like we have similar goals :)

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Welcome back Ashcension, I love the title of your challenge!

That's what we do, isn't it?

 

Very wise to scale your goals down even though I have to admit that I think you are pretty ambitious this time as well  :numbness:

 

I like looking at inches instead of kilos (or at photos...)

Your calorie goal seems pretty strict, are you including the calories you consume in your workouts as well?

 

Finally, I am joining you on the alcohol goal  :orange:

We've got this!

Hi Eve :) Yes, looking at inches is super important I know, for when that scale just won't budge.. So for my calorie goal, I'm saying that for a day like today, when I did an hour long workout and burned 700 calories, I'll actually eat like 2000 calories so I end up with a net of around 1300. So I'm still eating plenty and getting lots of nutrients (I think) but creating that deficit. I've heard a lot of different theories about eating back and not eating back workout calories, but I've gone below 1200 net by not eating them back before and my body reacted by not budging at all on the scale for days after (even after re-upping the calories), so I realized it went into starvation mode (yikes, and oops)...

 

Glad to have someone working with the alcohol goal too! Yesterday I drank like 500 cal in hard ginger beer, so will try to really limit it through this week! And yes, we've got this! :peaceful:

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Welcome back!

 

Thats great!

 

Have you read about paleo? If its something for you, you don't have to count calories anymore ;)

Did you use this calorie goals before? I always mention slow, but steady ;)

 

Good luck!

Hi Sunmage,

 

My first challenge I actually made eating Paleo (80% of the day, 5 days/week) one of my goals, and at the end of the challenge I weighed exactly the same! Right now, I'm kicking myself for not taking measurements at the end, that was silly... I really love the whole Paleo thing, but it took a lot of willpower and there were a lot of grey areas for me that made it hard for me to tell if I was doing it right or going lax on myself (no chocolate?? no oatmeal?? no legumes!?). I will probably give it another go before the year is up though. Haven't counted calories for a while, but feel like I need these "training wheels" to get back in touch with how much I'm actually consuming and deter me from binge eating cookies and drinking excess calories. I hear you on slow and steady tho :) I'm eating plenty, just burning a lot of it off with workouts! Thanks and good luck to you as well!

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Lots to report on! Sooo, on Sunday I did my first official day of Fitness Blender's 8 week workout plan (Round 3), which included doing a Physical Fitness Test. So I have those results, as well as the "super-fun" weighing in and measuring stuff, AND I took my before photos (which I'll compare to my "after" photos at the end). I looked back at my stats from the first challenge I did, and have gained 2 lbs and 2 inches around my hips (oh, the joys of being a pear). Hopefully I can shed that relatively fast and get back on track.

 

Weight: 144.2 lbs

Thigh: 23.5 in

Hips: 41 in

Waist: 28 in

Bust: 35 in

 

Physical Fitness Test:

 

1 Mile Run: 8 min 37 sec

Push Ups: 7 Full, 10 Half

Squats: 45 with 16 lb. weights

Static Plank: 1 min 5 sec

Sit and Reach: 4.5 in

 

So yeah, I have TONS of data (weight, measurements, physical performance, AND pics) to help me see my progress. As hard as it is to gather all of this, it does make me feel more committed, so it's a good thing :) Taking pix from straight on, the side, and back is so awkward and unflattering!

 

Was also really pleased with my mile time, considering it's only about a minute slower then my high school mile time! Granted, I felt like I was going to yack at the end, but I feel great about it lol.

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Hey Naaria! I totally stole the formatting for the GoogleDoc from another Nerd Fitnesser during my first challenge back in November :) I'm finding that if it itakes more than like, 20 seconds to log my progress, I'm less likely to log, and if I don't log, I'm less likely to be proactive about my goals! Yay for accountabilibuddies! It looks like we have similar goals :)

 

Awesome! I'd love it if you would follow me :) I've already followed you!!

 

Great start to the first day! Those pics are gonna be amazing to look back on when you've lost some inches where you want to lose them! Keep it up!!

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Day One: I completed a 63 minute cardio and ab workout from Fitness Blender, just BARELY hit my 1400 calorie mark (ate about 2100, including a glass of wine... worked off 700), meditated for 20 min, AND did a bunch for my self-care goal! I did 2 loads of laundry and decided to be adventurous and got high up into the hills of Oakland and watch the lunar eclipse (thus the glass of wine) in the forest. It was nice to make the time for something like that during the week, and really focus on being present for something so gorgeous, even though I was super tired. So worth it!!!

 

Day Two: Just hit the 1400 calorie mark (ate like 1700, burned 300), I completed my 50 minute Fitness Blender workout (strength training for the arms--my triceps are buuurning). Me and my husband Aaron hosted a couple of friends for dinner tonight, which has been really nice (cut myself off at 2 glasses of wine, and I'm done with drinking til Friday now). I think it might mean using today as a short, 5 minute meditation day too, which is okay.

 

SERIOUSLY looking forward to this weekend!!! Me and Aaron are going for an overnight backpacking trip, which has been really much-needed. My job has been leaving me so overwhelmed and exhausted most days and weeks that I mostly just lay around bewildered all weekend, and have a hard time motivating myself, then just get sucked into another week of exhaustion. I really need to escape the Bay Area, get some fresh air, hang out in some trees, sit around a campfire, have a magical adventure :) Work in some awesome hiking calorie burn while I'm at it too. May even wear my heart rate monitor while hiking just to get a sense of what the burn is per hour.

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Your weekend adventure sounds heavenly, and exactly what you need!  5-minute meditation during the day is a lot better than no meditation :)

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Very true Nirvi! :) Thank you guys for the support!

 

Day 3: So Wednesday I ate 1920 calories and burned off 720 with an hour long lower body cardio workout that literally kicked my ass. I felt sore instantly and drank a bunch of this green tea for muscle recovery by Yogi Tea. I meditated for 20 minutes (Hidden Valley of the Elves meditation on youtube). AND I took the time to paint my nails (sea foam green), which I ALWAYS want to do but never find the time to.

 

When I stepped on the scale this morning, I was 141.0 lbs, so I've dropped 3.2 lbs since Sunday. I'm guessing that much of the weight was water weight, female fluctuation weight, or weight from my Saturday New Orleans style feast I indulged in, so I'm trying not to worry about the dropping too much too fast thing. I can absolutely tell that my muscles are getting stronger already, my shoulders, butt, thighs, and core are all super sore and I'm extremely grateful for a no-exercise day of rest tomorrow.

 

Day 4: Today I ate about 1850 calories and burned off 450 doing 40 minutes of kickboxing. Some seriously, seriously sloppy kickboxing... really wanted to throw in the towel but managed to make it through. I also spent about 45 minutes making my stepdad a birthday card, so I counted that in for my creativity goal (I kinda loathe greeting cards, but my whole family seems to think that you don't love them if you don't send them, so...) Also did a heal the planet meditaiton for 20 minutes today.

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There's something intensely satisfying about having sore glute muscles. Things only get better from there! What sort of self-care will you be doing on your rest day? :) If you work hard, you must play hard!

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Hehe, yes, work hard and play hard has always been my motto! For today, I'm going to count my self-care as something that is technically part of my work day. I'm a school-based therapist, and I still see the kids I work with during spring break, so I'm taking a couple of the boys that I work with to these beautiful botanical gardens near UC Berkeley that I LOVE, maybe teach them some mindfulness, play some games, bring a picnic. These outings with kids are usually exhausting, but I've designed this one to hopefully be good for both the kids AND for me :) Then the evening will be preparing for the big forest adventure over the weekend!

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Alright, I'm back on track now. The weekend was fantastic, I really needed to be away from the city, and counted both days toward my self-care goal. I also counted both days as successes for working out, since I hiked for about 4 hours each day, and was SUPER incredibly sore at the end of it! The hike in was pretty much all downhill, and the hike out was pretty much all uphill. The last hour, my muscles were basically sreaming at me to stop (it felt like a 50 degree angle up with like, 30 lbs on my back), but I managed back to the car, with lots of breaks. I'm counting these two days as under 1800 calorie days since I'm guessing I burned hella calories hiking, but I did not keep track.

 

On Monday (yesterday) I was so sore and tired that I tried to take a personal day, but realized that I had too much work to get done that would just pile up, so I ended up doing a lot of work from home, but it was nice. I didn't dare work out cause I could barely walk without limping lol, but me and Aaron (my husband) ended up going to a hot tub to help soothe our muslces and unwind, which was brilliant and a perfect form of self-care for the day. Ate out twice, then went to the movies (finally saw the "Grand Budapest Hotel," plus popcorn, butter, and Reese's...), so I pretty much botched the calorie goal yesterday, but today I am back on track. Ate 1900, burned 640 (net 1260), did a 57 minute lower body Tabata workout and 6 min HIIT, and got back into my meditating. Looking forward to keeping the self-care up through the week and the rest of this challenge. It really helps so much.

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Fantastic, you're hitting all your goals and just sound like you want more. Take care to remember resting!

 

Being able to hike is something that makes me feel strong and believe in my own endurance. Do you feel the same way?

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Fantastic, you're hitting all your goals and just sound like you want more. Take care to remember resting!

 

Being able to hike is something that makes me feel strong and believe in my own endurance. Do you feel the same way?

Hi Eve! Yes, hiking definitely makes me feel stronger, more badass for sure! I realize that I'm capable of much more than I usually allow myself to do, which is really invigorating :) I was so sore after, but I took a full day to rest afterards before working out again, which was good :) Looking forward to getting in one over-night backpacking trip each month through October! Yay for the gorgeous warm weather to come!

 

This weekend was all about self-care. I managed to really moderate the alcohol (for me)--2 drinks Friday, 1 drink Saturday, and 2 drinks today, which freed up a lot of time, space, and energy. I got a lot of cleaning in (my mother in law is coming up to visit in a few weeks and me and my husband still haven't completely unpacked since moving in December, so I have some inspiration to hurry up). This morning I went shopping with my best friend, bought some really cute clothes, and then I went to Lush. My friend has been raving about these bath bombs, and I'm sooooo excited to write about them. I got this one: http://www.lushusa.com/Big-Blue/00032,en_US,pd.html#start=6 It turned the water a deep turquoise, fizzy, and soo soft, with sea weed, sea salt and lavender. I used a face mask I bought there too for my skin type (dry and sensitive) called The Sacred Truth. I lit candles, drank a glass of red wine, and red Chainfire, the fantasy novel I'm reading right now. Then I did my nails. I think I have a date with myself every Sunday night doing just this from now on, but with different bath bombs! :)

 

1/3 of the way through the challenge. I gained a couple lbs back, but I'm still at a total of -1lb, and telling myself my muscles are retaining water from working them so hard. I was sore all week from strength training exercises. Feel like I'm on the right track, and telling myself that I don't need instant results, I just need to stick to it this time...

 

Hope you're all doing well!!

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Ah - I love those products and there are few things as relaxing as a hot bath I think. You are really taking care of you!

Yes, it's sticking to the plan that counts, in the long run it means everything.....

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Lush makes some pretty great-smelling things - I've only bought from there once but I really should again.  The "me" date sounds wonderful and something I may copy in the not-so-distant future :D

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