SGX C2W4D1: Brilliant NPC Wisdom

Last night while playing through the first chapter and a half of Jade Empire for the third or fourth time–I couldn’t decide which character/martial art style combination I wanted to play with, so I made several character combinations and played through to chapter 2 with each of them–I was given a pretty funny reality check by one Sagacious Zu, a scarred, bad boy ally with a shady past as a former Imperial Lotus Assassin.

As is usual in the RPG genre, my character was an orphaned child of destiny trained in combat and magical arts and earmarked for great things. Like Neo in The Matrix, I was The One.

Anyhow, I enter the town of Tien’s Landing and run into Hui, a female soldier loyal to my character’s old martial arts teacher and surrogate father, Master Li. She and Sagacious Zu apparently know each other and make some cryptic remarks about a baby that Zu rescued many years ago and gave to Hui to take to safety.

When I finally get to make a conversation choice, I chose, “I was that baby, wasn’t I?” just to be cheeky, even though I knew from a previous revelation from Master Li that my character was rescued from the slaughter of her people and taken to the Two Rivers School of Martial Arts by Master Li himself, not by Zu, so I couldn’t be the baby of which they were speaking.

Zu, taking me at my word, turns to me and says in a snarky voice, “No, it wasn’t. Not EVERYTHING is about YOU.”

Ouch! Totally smacked down by an NPC! 😆

Zu is indeed sagacious. When you spend an hour a day working out, several hours a week preparing enough food to fuel your six-meal-a-day habit, and many untold minutes explaining to the rest of the world why you persist in saying no to doughnuts, pizza, and soft drinks when you aren’t even overweight, it’s natural to become a little self-focused. Every once in a while it’s good to be reminded that the preponderance of junk food in the supermarket aisles, the oversized portions of fast-food at the local drive-through, and the lack of workout facilities at your vacation hotel are not cosmically-ordained attempts to sabotage your personal physique transformation efforts.

Like any other specialized interest group, we bodybuilding nutrition freaks with daily exercise fetishes are often guilty of taking ourselves too seriously. We measure every percentage of body fat that slides on or off our bodies, obsess about how much more we have to lose or gain to reach our goals, and lock down our diets so tightly that we almost have to have an “authorized” free meal or day just to keep ourselves from going nuts.

Wouldn’t it be nice (and probably more productive) if those of us who are NOT training for a competition could all step back, take the focus off the food and exercise so they are just background activities like brushing our teeth and combing our hair, and just let the results happen when they happen? Sometimes I think that the heavy focus on self in terms of “What am I allowed to eat today?”, “How much can I have?”, “How much weight have I lost this week?”, “Did I do enough/too much cardio?” and “Why can’t I chill out and have cake like everyone else?” just works against us and makes us think in terms of “punishment” and “deprivation” instead of “permanent lifestyle” and “healthy, smart way to live”.

Nutrition: SGX Training Day Menu
(Details omitted by request of trainer)

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter, 1 t. GNC Creastack
Water: 16 cups minimum

7:00 PM SGX Upper Body/Back workout
7:40 PM P90X Plyometrics

The Awful Truth:
1. Went to bed at 2:43 am.

Brownie Points:
1. Got 6.5 hours of sleep.
2. Did the dishes.
3. Tidied living room.
4. Tidied bed room.
5. Plants are still alive after almost 7 weeks.

Short-term Goals:
1. File papers on drafting table.
2. Get through next three chapters of NASM manual.
3. Work on paper doll body templates.
4. Vacuum the apartment.
5. Take pictures of low-budget home gym set up and write up reviews of everything.
6. Send out FSA forms for reimbursement.

4 thoughts on “SGX C2W4D1: Brilliant NPC Wisdom

  1. I’m glad you brought this up because I think that becoming too goal focused can lead to some disappointments and may ultimately cause us to lose sight of the ‘big picture’. If we are to champion a ‘lifestyle’ that is not sustainable, we can’t become so obsessed with numbers and percentages related to our bodies that the obsession turns into self oppression. It’s different if you are truly training to compete or have a very compelling reason why you have to meet your goal by a specific date. I heard this somewhere before and I like it: Set the goal, make the plan, forget the goal, work the plan. We each have different philosophies and this tends to work for me if I fully embrace it (it’s a tought ‘if’).

    Case in point. I downloaded your weight loss spread sheet to use as a guide for my Eating for Life challenge (I won’t be able to work out for a few months) and I’m making good progress without feeling too deprived or restricted. I’ll be honest and admit I do check my weight every morning and measure once a week, but I’m trying not to obsess. For me, it is about having 1 or 2 peanut M&M’s as opposed to 1 or 5 handfulls. Anyway. Your point is very important if we intend to make this way of life a lifestyle. Obsess if you must because it can be fun, but don’t let it oppress.

  2. Tee hee – this is why I can’t spend too much time on JSF. The pages of flame wars about whether a pear is good or bad due to the uptake of fructose to the liver glycogen stores (which can be converted to oohhh TRIGLYCERIDES) and it’s inability to be available for muscle glycogen… I just want to pelt the computer screen with fruit.

  3. First off… Maggie, what you do here so publicly is one of the bravest things I have ever seen. I know you can probably justify it by saying that it is worth doing because it helps you, but it doesn’t make it less brave. And your diligence is so impressive. I am sure you are an inspiration to very, very many people on many very different levels.

    About Goals and Candy Bars….

    Goals (unlike candy bars) are harsh little monsters. The way I was trained to do goals:
    1) Set measureable and worthy goals (worthy being subjective, but something that at least gets a self pat on the back), with clear deadlines.
    2) Review after deadline. What percent of the goal was achieved, and more importantly what worked, and what didn’t, and what could be improved and why.
    3) Keep a running list of things that work and don’t work. Forever.
    4) Forgive yourself completely for failures. Seriously. Because it’s growth. And celebrate your successes, just as seriously.

    I hate them. I hate them. I hate them. But they are so effective.

    Focused and determined progress requires constant effort. For those of us involved in healthy bodyshaping, that effort is both mental and physical. And it’s just plain hard. For the amount of work we do, it’s not worth a candy bar at lunch – not because of the fat that comes from that one candy bar, but because of all the discipline it took to work the history of candy bars out of our brains and bodies.

    It is intentionally focused personal habit change, which (to me) is the true power of goals. And the cost is too high to give less than 100 percent.

    Put another way, you have already modified your brain – you are going to stress about the candy bars whether you eat them or not. But you will feel good about not. Might as well do that. So what if it makes you feel self focused? You are worth it.

  4. And sometimes, when you want the candy bar, just have the damn candy bar … because, quite frankly, sometimes the time in the gym and planning meals IS worth the candy bar at lunch. Discipline is measured in many ways, and not always should it be by “all of this and none of that.”

    We — in the general sense — routinely beat ourselves up for being human when it comes to food, yet find all the forgiveness in the world for our actions after, say, flipping someone off in traffic. That seems a little distorted and sad to me.

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