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Hello!  I'm a new Recruit.  I'm interested in Ranger, Druid, and Scout professions, but since I can't decide I'm going to settle for Adventurer for now. :-)  Specifically, my favorite fitness activities are: bodyweight strength training, yoga, running, hiking, bicycling, and brewing beer (shhh).

 

I recently graduated from grad school, which took a toll on my health (mental, physical, spiritual), so now I'm on a quest to Level Up all those areas of my life I've been neglecting (for the sake of academic levelling up).

 

I think I'm supposed to wait to post this until the next challenge begins, 5/24/15 (??), but I guess since I started two weeks ago, maybe it's okay if I post this now?  Anyway my first posted challenge is:

 

* Fitness: continue You Are Your Own Gym 10-week bodyweight strength-building program, 4x week.  (I'm currently on week 2.)

* Nutrition: eat healthier!  be mindful of what I eat, focus on making good choices and small victories.  I'm not setting specific food goals this round, except to not eat fast food 4x week.  This should be an easy goal since I'm not on campus pounding out papers every day, and I have the time/inclination to cook.  I've started tracking what I eat on MFP to help me pay closer attention (and because I love data tracking).

* Life: apply for full-time jobs, and hopefully get one.  (I'm currently working a part-time internship.)

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Update on the first two weeks:

 

Since I started with these goals before posting, I'm going to backlog my progress.  I'm going to rate my progress for each goal for each week, on a 5 range scale.

 

Fitness: Got off to a slow start and didn't begin right away.  Completed 6 workouts, which is 3x week.  I also did some yoga and walking.  An overall success, especially starting out.

Wk1-- O O O O

Wk2-- O O O O O

 

Nutrition: Logged my food every day and made repeated conscious decisions to make healthy choices.  Also got off to a slow start due to several obstacles: opened a large bag of Whoppers, several parties/conferences with snacks/booze, visited a brewery, and drank copious amounts of wine in a "hillbilly hot tub" with my boyfriend.  (I had a lot of fun this week...)  However, I also made chicken salads for lunch in week 2, preparing stuff ahead of time and often chose to snack on fruit and cottage cheese instead of junk.  There's room for improvement, but I'm going to revel in the small victories at this point.

Wk1-- O O O

Wk2-- O O O O

 

Life:  I have been slacking on this goal, in order to enjoy post-graduation and replenish my hit points.  My internship is supposed to be posting a new position that I am specifically qualified for, but they haven't yet so I can't apply for it.  I also found out that I didn't get two jobs I had interviewed for last month.  However, I updated my resume and forwarded it to my program, which has contact with employers.  I'm not too concerned with this goal for now, but I can't let it slip by without effort on my part.

Wk1-- ( ( (

Wk2-- ( ( (

 

Overall:

Wk1-- :moon: (peeking out from behind a corner)

Wk2-- :rolleyes-new:  (hesitant but pleased smile)

 

[i originally had smiley faces for my 5-point range, but apparently there's an emoticon limit???  The horror!]

 

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Oooooohhhh just found the rules for leveling up / stat points.  Since this round I will only be participating for 4 weeks and am still figuring things out, I'm just going to count it as a half challenge.  If I complete, I expect I would then be Level 1 with 10 stat points (unless I'm mistaken??) according to my perceived current abilities. (Which... would be lots of WIS and very little STR or CON haha) 

 

 

I'll amend my goals to be more specific/comprehensive:

1) Adding in 2 days a week of running/walking/hiking and yoga/stretching.  3x week YAYOG to complete goal, but with the aim of 4x week.

2) No more than two junk days a week (*shakes fist* delicious beer!).  Log every day, be mindful of small choices towards healthy eating.

3) Apply for at least 5 positions and create a spreadsheet of all available leads with positions to apply for / people to follow up with /etc.

 

For the next challenge, I'll stick to the same themes for goals, but amend according to what is realistic at the time.  (Then if I'm correct, after my first full challenge I will be Level 2 with 15 stat points according to completion of goals.)

 

I've always wanted to play DnD, but haven't been able to find a group to play with, so I'm excited to develop my "character" through these real life challenges!

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Week 3 Update

 

Fitness:  I only did 2 YAYOG workouts, because I didn't want my legs to be sore for Memorial Day weekend... I went backpacking at Black Rock State Park with 8 friends!  It was most of their first time, and I wasn't around to plan menu/packing, so I ended up carrying a ridiculous amount of weight up and down the mountain. (Including a bag of sweet potatoes and oranges and a fifth of whiskey...)  The hike into camp, luckily, was only 3.5 miles, going steep downhill for half then steep uphill for the other half, so it was still a helluva workout.  The next two days I volunteered for hikes (it was a haul to find a steady water source the second day, then the third day I volunteered to hike back to get our cars while most others waited at a lake with road access), so was able to get in two more hefty workouts.  According to the MFP calculator, I burned over a 1,000 calories per hike, which I believe based on how sore and tired I am today.  The trail was beautiful, covered in lush green undergrowth, streams and waterfalls, and mountain laurels everywhere.  An excellent weekend, and I'm counting this as a win for Fitness goal. :-D

 

*****

 

Nutrition: On days when it's just me going to work and cooking at home, I do great... but when my boyfriend comes over or I hang out with friends the alcohol always tips me over.  :-(  I've been logging calories consistently though and foodwise I still make conscious decisions for health, I just haven't transferred this effectively to drinks yet.  Baby steps, though, or I will be overwhelmed and give up!  I ate a ridiculous amount over the weekend, but I already decided I wasn't going to hold back since I'd be burning calories hiking.  According to MFP I ate at about maintenance, so I think it worked out okay still.   I did go a bit overboard when we made it back to civilization though, with a giant plate of fajitas at a Mexican place then frozen custard for dessert.

***

 

Life: I found two jobs that I'm qualified for, but haven't applied to yet.  A place I interviewed with previously had an opening, but they wanted me to start immediately and the position was only temporary (until December) and had a kinda low salary.  I was considering accepting, because it still would be good experience, but the position I really really want at where I currently intern was finally posted, so I didn't want to commit to something else before finding out about that.

****

 

Character Points Distribution:

I guess the challenge is over today???  I'm going to keep posting weekly updates I think until the next challenge starts.  Since we can claim 10 points based on pre-NF characteristics after three weeks of the challenge, I'm doing that now:

 

STR-- 1 (I've stopped and started bodyweight exercises before, so eehh.)

CON-- 1 (I'm still in good health and of hearty stock... and I had 20+ years of relatively healthy eating before 1 year of eating fast food.)

DEX-- 0 (I'm not really flexible or fast...)

STA-- 2 (I used to be a cross-country running and have run half marathons.  I also used to go on 30+ mile slow bike rides.  While not in shape currently, I have the endurance mindset and it's the easiest for me to tap back into.  This weekend backpacking proved that-- I was not as in shape as other members, but I didn't give up as fast.)

WIS-- 6 (Two years of grad school... I basically developed my wisdom at the expense of all other stats.)

CHA-- 0 (Socially awkward as hell, but I have finally situated myself in a comfortable group of friends.  I will eventually do a social challenge though, that would be good for me.)

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I went to bar trivia and *didn't* order beer, so yay me! I also wasn't hungry much of the day and listened to my body about what it wanted...

But I then ordered dinner at the trivia bar/restaurant-- kale, sweet potato, bourbon fried chicken. Omg it was incredible, juicy and succulent and rich, but of course the veggies had oil/butter and the chicken was about twice as big as I expected, and I ate it *all*. I'm not over maintenance calories, but I don't want to get into a habit of indulging at restaurants (my weakness!)... Either order something else (I like healthy food and would still enjoy it!) or take home leftovers!!

I'll have time/energy to workout tomorrow, so another day another attempt.

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Yesterday was not great... I was supposed to exercise (again!) but did not.  I also drank a beer (Dragon's Milk stout-- omg so glorious), ate chocolate cake, drank a glass of wine, and sat on my butt and watched TV.  I haven't even unpacking my stuff from camping yet.  I'm blaming this on not setting myself up for success, specifically sleep deprivation making me sluggish and lowering my willpower.

 

*However* last night I went to bed at 8pm and slept for 11 hours (and dear god I needed that), so today will be better!  If I say that enough times it will be true!  I've discovered a running club that is doing a hills workout today, so I might check that out.  I might even do YAYOG *also*.  Ambitious!

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Hey we may have a mini challenge for the interim you might be interested in over in Scouts.  Stop by the Scouts Tavern and say hi while you are at it.  We are a friendly bunch.  

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Finally a good day! Back in the swing, just in time for weekend temptation battles... Lunch/dinner were healthy leftovers and when i was still hungry i snacked on celery and almonds, so good choices. Did YAYOG but didn't go to running club, mostly because it's across town near my internship and I didn't want to double back. But they have regular events, so I'll just plan ahead to keep clothes/shoes in my car. I also talked to a coworker about the job I applied for, so I know I will interview in ~2 weeks. I also finished a book, and now I'm going to bed on time! Huzzah.

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...because I'm just going to turn this into an overall life experiment diary, in addition to of course blogging challenge updates

 

I'm currently brewing:

  • Kombucha

Black tea, plan on adding blackberry juice during bottling phase if I can ever get it to sour... supposed to be in 75-85 degrees, but outside is too hot and in my garage is too cool. 

How does this relate to fitness?  A light bubbly beverage, with less caffeine than straight tea and less sugar than normal drinks!  Plus probiotics and possible good effects from that!

  • Kimchi

Red cabbage with carrots, onion, green onion, radishes, chili powder, garlic, ginger, salt, maple syrup (didn't have honey or sugar oops)... Currently is in the fridge, so fermentation has slowed.  Not all-together authentic because I was not about to brave putting in seafood, but is quite delicious!

How does this relate to fitness?  An exciting vegetable dish that is fresh, but stays good for weeks/months!  In case I get bored of regular salads and need to get my veggies in.  Bam!

  • White Strawberry Ale

I have about 10 days left until bottling.  Mmm mmm goood.  How does this relate to fitness?  +1 CHA... lol

  • Saurkraut

Well, I'm not yet, but after I finish eating the kimchi that's my next project, especially because someone recommended Bigos, a Polish Hunter's Stew as a healthy Paleo recipe... Time to reconnect with my Polish heritage. mmmm

 

[so I don't forget, I really want to try Primal Egg Coffee-- sounds like a latte (mmm latte) but without the extra fat and with more protein???]

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I have had homemade kimchi and it was tasty.  I have been intimidated in trying to make fermented stuff or canning in general.  I love kraut.  I am definitely interested in hearing how it goes when you do it.

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I have had homemade kimchi and it was tasty.  I have been intimidated in trying to make fermented stuff or canning in general.  I love kraut.  I am definitely interested in hearing how it goes when you do it.

 

I have been brewing beer for quite a while, and it seems to be a forgiving medium-- despite numerous "challenges" our beer only ended up badly once, when I guess we didn't sterilize the bucket adequately.

 

This is my first time venturing into fermented foods, however!  It's been really easy so far, just a bit of preparation then sitting around waiting.  I would recommend recipes on Mark's Daily Apple (for simplicity), Maangchi.com (for authenticity), or The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz (a book on my wishlist to own...).  I will update with how it all turns out when they're done.

 

Overall though, fermentation should be really easy to tell if it goes bad-- it will smell/taste bad or you can see visible mold (the bad kind is green/blue like on bread... yuck).

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Week 4 update:

Fitness--

This went well. After intense hiking last weekend/Monday, my legs were really sore, so I took two days off. However, Thursday and Friday I did yayog workouts, and those felt good. Saturday I walked to get groceries (I planned on running, but didn't feel like it, so this way two tasks one stone!), which ended up being three miles total since I had to double back at one point plus carrying my camping backpack full of groceries. Sunday my boyfriend was here and we went hiking at Clinton Nature Preserve-- it was humid and the trails were poorly marked, so we accidentally did ~4 miles instead of the expected 5+. Still a good hike.

Scoring: five stars!

Nutrition: gosh I am just having all the same problems and victories here. I can make some good choices-- and I still haven't eaten fast food or total junk since school ended a month ago so huzzah-- but take me out with friends or offer me beer and I can't refuse. :-/ Overall calories worked out to a deficit of ~160 a day, with some days way over and a few way under, but I'm probably underestimating food I eat out.

Scoring: three stars I guess.

Life: applied for the position at my office and asked a coworker questions about the process-- sounds like my interview will be next week or the week after. Haven't applied to other jobs. I'm not really concerned, but I don't know if I should be.

Scoring: 2 stars?

It's been a month since school ended and four weeks of my challenge! I definitely have more energy and feel better generally. I'm making could in strength in that I had none before starting so that's good. I wish I could change my diet more effectively, but I'm trying to be positive so I'm not discouraged. I would more to lose weight ideally, but it's more important that I build stamina and strength.

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It can be frustrating but you definitely have made great improvements.  How often are you eating out with friends?  If it is more than once a week try to keep one time healthier or skip the beer just one night of say 4 you may be eating with them.  

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It can be frustrating but you definitely have made great improvements. How often are you eating out with friends? If it is more than once a week try to keep one time healthier or skip the beer just one night of say 4 you may be eating with them.

Yeah, it varies. I'm focused by myself but with my boyfriend or friends, I'm relaxed and happy and it's easier to shrug off as no big deal. But you're right! That is what I should try to do.
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This week I'm with my parents, who exercise daily and cook healthy foods (except for my mom's sweet tooth hah) since they're both health professionals, so I expect this last byweek will go well. I went to a fitness class with my mom this morning that was great-- lots of bodyweight exercises and aerobics, and now my legs are complete jello-- so off to a good start!

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Family and friends make it too easy to give in for sure.  Happens to me enough.  Granted I use them as an excuse to give in because it takes effort to go against the grain so to speak.

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Family and friends make it too easy to give in for sure. Happens to me enough. Granted I use them as an excuse to give in because it takes effort to go against the grain so to speak.

Haha that's exactly it... Everyone would be supportive, I just don't want to be the one that's different or restrictive. I'm adding in a CHA point in my next challenge if I make good choices when around others, and another challenge I might focus more heavily on that.
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uuuuhhhh last week I still kept track of everything, but didn't write in here.

 

Fitness: worked out everyday, some more rigorous than others.  highlights include kayaking 4 miles in the mangroves with my brother, going to a fitness class with my mom, and introducing my mom to YAYOG.

 

Nutrition: tracked everyday, but not as good as I hoped... not really at a deficit at all.  same deficiencies.

 

Life: ugh.  Although today I applied for four jobs so that's something (but not for last week).  Also my internship ended, so now I'm just unemployed.

 

That concludes that...  I did okay, but much room for improvement.  For my next 6 week challenge, see signature link.

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