Adventures with World of Warcraft – Building Community

World of WarcraftI have many sides and one of them is being an avid fan of the game World of Warcraft. I have been playing since about 2007 when the Burning Crusade expansion came out. It was my first experience playing a game where you could interact with other players. World of Warcraft is a type of game called a MMORPG or a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. This post is part of a series called 5 Random Things About Me.  I like to give my readers a glimpse into my life and I love to learn more about you as well. When I first started playing World of Warcraft (also known as WoW), I was terrified at the thought of interacting with other players online. I am an introvert and I had learned to play the game with the original version which was just a CD that you popped into your computer and played without interaction with others. This was way before social media was popular and connecting with others online was just a foreign idea to me. The first time someone “whispered” me (sent me a private chat message) I was shocked. But as I played more I learned the value in building relationships in an online community. Many of the friends that I made in-game are still friends all these years later.

Benefits of Video Games as Online Communities

 

Learning teamwork and collaboration

There are many quests and challenges that require you to work with others in order to pull them off. Joining a group called a guild can provide helpful benefits to you and working together with them can propel you farther than you can go on your own. There are in-game items, skills and benefits that you only get if you belong to a guild. As will all communities, sometimes you have to shop around to find the group that is right for you.

Setting goals and achieving them

The basics of this type of game is receiving quests and accomplishing them. As you complete the quests you progress in your level and get more rewards and more experience to increase your level. There are many ways you can utilize these features. You may just want to follow the quests as they come or you may seek out specific quest lines for the rewards they give. Just as in life the goals you set and where you spend you time drives the rewards you receive.

Learning Leadership

Over time I went from being afraid to chat with other players to leading my own guild. I started a guild called Homeless with the intention of attracting players that were tired of not measuring up to the requirements of other guilds. We were a band of misfits and it worked. Hundreds of people ended up joining and we became a nice little online family. To be honest, the people that I had connected with in the group are what made it the hardest to take some time off from game play. Leading the guild came with its own set of challenges.

Tension relief/Fun

Some days I play just for something to do mindlessly. Sometimes I need to be able to put my brain in neutral and decompress. I am fully aware that if I spend too much time in this state I will never meet my goals, but an occasional bit of down time can help reset the ole brain cells. One of the things I like doing during this time is “play the auction house.” I love  to learn the prices (in virtual money) that the in-game items can go for and then buy low and sell high. In the past I was pretty good at this and it was sort of a game within the game for me.

Community

Some of the friends I have made in World of Warcraft I still consider friends years later. We have connected in other ways and we keep in touch outside of the game. This game was my first experience with making friends that I had never met before since the days of pen pals when I was a child. For me it paved the way to making new connections and now I am blessed to be a part of several powerful online communities such as Dreamers & Builders and 30 Days of Hustle. The game is fun and I think it always will be for me but the thing that keeps me coming back are the people I meet.

Have You Ever Been the Awkward Girl at the Gym?

awkward at the gymToday’s post is a guest post from Whitney Treloar. When I first read this post I found it really resonated with me and I hope you will feel the same.This post is for me and for all of you who ever felt awkward at the gym.

Do you go to a gym or take fitness classes? Maybe you’re really fit and strong and lean from working out on a regular basis. Good for you! That is so important. I’ve always wanted to be a person who values and enjoys fitness and exercise, making time for it, enjoying it, missing it when it doesn’t happen. I love you runners and strength trainers and Iron Man-ers. I do. I admire that it’s a priority and I’m happy that you are likely more healthy and will live a happier, healthier, longer life for your loved-ones.

Ladies, do you drop the kids at school and head straight to your gym or class? Do you have just THE RIGHT clothing and shoes? Do you own your own equipment, gloves, wraps? Is your water bottle the current craze? Do you have a special sweat towel, headband, a t-shirt with your studio’s logo? Do you show up driving your SUV with your kids’ school sticker and meet your classmates there and stretch out together, discussing your families and schedules? That’s great for you. Must be fun. I’m sure that kind of community makes it easier, more tolerable, more fun, less painful.

Let’s talk about the chubby, unhealthy chick who wants to change her ways. She may show up a few minutes early, wearing the wrong clothing and shoes, without her own equipment and gear. She’ll probably stand awkwardly to the side, hoping to catch someone’s eye. She may be just trying it out, seeing what it’s all about, hoping to learn something. She probably is very aware that she doesn’t fit in. It probably took awhile to get to the point where she’d give it a shot. She may have called around, visited other gyms, asked her friends who work out. Obviously, she doesn’t have much experience and needs to learn the ropes. She probably fought off a whole team of demons on her way there. She’s overweight and scared to change, although she’s all too aware of her habits. Her sedentary lifestyle has likely caught up with her in her middle age. She’s made a lot of changes over the years, and it’s really long past time for her to do this. She has tried other times in other places over the years. She’s spent good money on personal trainers, but gyms are extremely intimidating to your average Standard-American-Diet-eating mom and housewife. The average gym makes BIG money on the average chubby housewife, depending on her to sign the contract and NOT come back after the first few weeks. Having paid this “stupid tax” more than a few times, this nice lady is terribly gun-shy.

She would have rather stayed home and done laundry in peace. She maybe has physical issues she hopes to tackle, but going back to bed feels so much better. Morning talk shows are good, non-judgmental friends to have while she toasts a bagel and tackles the bathrooms. She may truly enjoy her down time while her family is out of the house. Maybe she’s an introvert, and that time is her sanity.

I bet she’s sick to death of the constant cycle she’s in of eating wrong and being tired, seeing doctors and taking pills, not getting enough sleep and feeling exhausted, not working enough because she feels so lousy, so not having the money to buy better food and not having the energy to cook from scratch. She knows better, but she’s so tired and family fights her on it, anyway. She’s just not the type to go to the gym, take fitness classes. She knows she’ll face less resistance if she works out at home, so she has the videos, live-streaming, gadgets and the stuff, but it goes unused because she doesn’t have the drive, the accountability, the encouragement.

She needs to step outside her comfort zone and she knows it. But, wow. So TOTALLY uncomfortable. It has taken a LOT of processing and thought and research to get here.

Chances are, it took every ounce of nerve she had to don her dorky workout clothes. Maybe she had to borrow her husband’s nylon shorts. Maybe she had cottage cheese this morning instead of bread so she could finally start that new chapter in her life – the one where she exercises regularly and steps outside her shell to meet new women with healthier lifestyles. Maybe, once she fed her family breakfast, made their lunches, got them out the door safely and on time, she wondered if it would REALLY be okay if she took a little time and money for herself, for the sake of improving her lifestyle, because that would ALSO be a way she could serve her family because it’s taking care of their caretaker and setting a positive example.

Maybe that 8 mile drive took her forever, and every fiber of her wanted to turn the minivan around. The voices told her it was too far, took too long, costs too much, required too much sacrifice. Maybe she remembered all the gyms and classes in the past and all the looks and wry smiles. Maybe her insecurities told her she was crazy because she’d never fit in. And maybe she punched that fear RIGHT IN THE FACE! because she knows that she is worthy of the time, energy, money and commitment. She is every bit as worthy as anyone and it is important. So, she gave herself a pep-talk that whole 14 minute drive, telling herself that her body will thank her, her ailments would eventually subside, her attitude would improve, that her fears were unfounded, she’d feel so much better and be so much more pleasant when she felt better, slept better, looked better. Maybe some day she could buy pretty new smaller clothes. Maybe her husband would flirt with her…..

So, ladies, there she is. Her workout clothes are different and awkward, she doesn’t have a water bottle or the gear, she’s shifting awkwardly and making everyone feel uncomfortable.

What are you gonna do? What are you gonna say? Anything? She has pushed it hard to get here and you do have a bit of responsibility to her.

If, in fact, you ignore her, those voices are gonna have a field day. If they win, she’ll dart. If all those voices are right, then you *are* judging her and laughing at her. If those voices win, then she *is* wasting her time and she should have stayed at home. If you let her get away, she may cry hot, embarrassed fat tears of shame all the way home, feeling very close to her middle school daughter in those moments. It would be so.much.easier to turn and run.

And, just for the record, the drive-through never judges her.

 

Whitney Treloar lives in Naples, FL with her husband and 2 of her three daughters. She spends her days keeping the family and household running smoothly like a typical housewife and mom. She’s passionate about Jesus, music, health, relationships and leaving a legacy for her children. She’s studying to be a certified health coach, and hopes soon to speak and write about physical and spiritual healing and thriving. This story is just one of the many she plans to incorporate into her coaching business. She also dabbles in her own blog, www.mamatold.us.

Setting Goals #Next5

Goals for the next 5 years

Goals for the next 5 years

A Facebook friend and fellow Dreamers & Builders member, Kevin Buchanan challenged our group recently to jot down what we would like to accomplish in the next 5 years.  I thought about it a bit but I tried not to spend too much time on it to be honest. I was afraid that if I sat and analyzed my goals for too long I would never get around to actually doing the challenge. So here are some of my goals and a rare #selfie.

1. Be debt free. I almost wrote (except for mortgage) but then I decided to dream big.

2. 3 Star Diamond Beachbody coach – this goal scares me. Just sayin’.

3. Professional speaker (oh, yea…terrified)

4. Visit The Living Room in Kenya. The Living Room is a hospice for those with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other conditions. It is an amazing place doing an amazing work. You can learn more about them here.

I’d leave to hear about what you’re going to do in the #Next5. Post in the comments and also commit to it by posting on social media. Check out this video of other folks taking the #Next5 challenge. I can’t wait to see yours. Be sure to use the hashtag #next5.

The Skinny on Dietary Fat: Does Fat Make You Fat?

avocado

Source: tom dube, Flickr

Does Fat Make You Fat?

Are you eating a low fat diet because you have been told that it’s better for you? Don’t feel bad if you are. We have been led to believe that eating fat will not only make us fat but will lead to high cholesterol levels and cause heart disease. This is faulty science. There are whole books written on the subject but I am going to boil down some of the information and give you some healthy tips to improving your all-around nutrition. The good news is that you get to enjoy some of the foods that you thought were bad for you.

If you have been a reader of my blog or if you follow me on Facebook you will know that I encourage eating real food and plenty of it. I don’t believe that restrictive, temporary diets are the right way to fuel your body. I believe that foods that we eat should provide the most nutrients possible and that includes high quality fats. For some simple guidelines on general nutrition you can check out my post Making Nutrition Simple.

Fats are Necessary.

Fats are a necessary part of our diet and limiting them can actual cause some detrimental health effects. You need adequate amounts of good, high quality fats to absorb many of the vitamins that your body needs like Vitamin A, D, E and K. These are known as fat soluble vitamins and among other things help to regulate your immune system. Deficiencies in some of these vitamins are implicated in autoimmune disease. The membrane of your cells are made from fat and fats are also necessary to make your body’s steroid hormones- cortisol, estrogen, testosterone). Your body’s communication mechanism – neurotransmitters, need a fatty layer in order to transmit their signals.

Fat breaks down into fatty acids. Some of these fatty acids are known as essential fatty acids. They are known by that name because it is essential that we get them from the foods we eat. Our bodies cannot manufacture them. Essential fatty acids are known as Omega-6 and Omega-3.  The recommended ratio of these fatty acids are between 1:1 and 4:1. Higher ratios than this can result in increased inflammation which can lead to numerous problems in health. Most Americans have a ratio between 10:1 and 25:1.

A diet rich in nutrient-dense, high quality fats can actually help you maintain a healthy weight.

When we increase high quality fats and decrease the starches and sweets in our diet our blood sugar levels can stabilize. This results in less cravings and better satiety (feeling satisfied).  Our hormones are better regulated and our body can synthesize vitamins better. When we eat a low fat diet and eat more starches and sweets it sets up a vicious cycle of insulin spikes, fat storage and cravings. I will be writing a future post on that subject soon.

Good sources of whole food fats:

Nuts and seeds

Avocado

Coconut

Cacao

Olives

Flax seeds (milled)

Chia seeds

Organic eggs

Organic, grass-fed and grass finished meats

Fatty Fish – such as sardines, mackerel, herring and salmon

So do so many people say that low fat is the way to go?

This myth has been perpetuated since the 1950’s when a study called the Seven Countries Study was released. This study conducted by Dr. Key examined heart disease risk a it relates to lifestyle and dietary habits. He concluded that countries where people ate more fat had more incidences of heart disease. However, this was faulty science on several levels. The study showed a POSSIBLE correlation but that does not necessarily prove causation. The big problem fo rme is that he did not release ALL the results. The study was actually conducted in twenty-two countries, not just seven. He intentionally chose the seven countries that proved the point that he was trying to make. He did not release the data on countries like Holland and Norway where they ate more fat but had lower heart disease rates. He also did not release the data on countries like Chile which had lower fat consumption but high heart disease rates. It is a flawed study when you pick and choose the results that you release. Unfortunately this study had a major influence on our dietary guidelines.

What are we to do?

Don’t be afraid of eating fats but make sure you are getting fats that will provide the most nutrients like those listed above. I’ll post some recipes in a future post with delicious whole food fats added.