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GEMLADYONE's Recent Blog Entries

5% Challenge Helps Build Healthy Lifestyle and Lose Weight

Monday, April 22, 2013

We just completed the 8 week “Winter into Spring 5% Challenge”, and I am totally pleased with the results. In the 5% challenge, for eight weeks we compete as teams to virtually travel to exotic places, while we work on consistency in exercise and in other healthy lifestyle habits. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of wonderful people. The members of the team worked together to keep up encouragement, motivation, support and accountability as we all worked on building good habits together. The leaders of the teams and of the overall challenge did a fabulous job putting it together and keeping it organized and all of us on track.

In the challenge, I managed to lose 9% of my starting weight over the eight weeks, but I believe that rather than being the main focus, the weight loss was the result of the healthy habits that we focused on each week. When I joined Sparkpeople 5 years ago, the nutrition plans and fitness plans helped me achieve my goal weight, but I didn’t learn anything about maintenance and soon gained it all back and more. I returned in December 2012 determined to do things differently this time, and to learn the healthy habits that would not only help me achieve my goal weight, but improve my fitness and change my lifestyle permanently for the better.

For me, the 5% challenge was a catalyst to reinforcing the habits I was trying to make part of my lifestyle, and to learn (or be reminded) about some new ones that also should go along on the trip to my healthy future.

So now, my suitcase is packed with good habits to help me on the journey, I’m working to leave the bad ones behind, and I’m ready to move ahead with the rest of my (healthier) life.

I am looking forward to the “Spring into Summer 5% Challenge”, to keep making progress on my journey, and to spend another 8 weeks with my friends and team-mates.

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Anyone can join in the next 5% Challenge - Spring into Summer. Here's the link to the team you will join to sign up:

After you join this overall challenge team, you will have time to read more details about the challenge and get to know the other participants. In a few weeks, you will be assigned to an individual team, where you will be for the 8 weeks of the challenge.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISTINSGOALS 4/24/2013 11:58AM

    Alie!!! Rock on!!! You did incredible things during the challenge! I'm so glad you're on our team!!


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NEWCHINELO 4/24/2013 10:56AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DASU1949 4/23/2013 9:09PM

    Way to go Alie! emoticon
I am happy for you reaching 9%!
I did not make the 5% but, like you, I have learned a lot and am applying it. I am not giving up and look forward to the next challenge. I am feeling better for the weight I did lose which good.
Take care - see you in the next challenge.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANYVAR54 4/23/2013 6:08PM

    Congratulations on being in the spotlight and in your progress in the challenge. Way to go.

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PCOH051610 4/23/2013 4:33PM

    "For me, the 5% challenge was a catalyst to reinforcing the habits I was trying to make part of my lifestyle, and to learn (or be reminded) about some new ones that also should go along on the trip to my healthy future. "

What a great blog you wrote and the above sentence really struck a chord with me! emoticon

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TEQPEACH 4/23/2013 3:21PM

    emoticon and then some! Way to go.

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LYNCHD05 4/23/2013 11:16AM

    Co beats on your successful weight loss but more important the new skills we have learned. I'm with you!!!!

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KALISWALKER 4/23/2013 10:16AM

    I have come close to 5% but never quite made it. Thanks for the inspiration!

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SLIMLEAF 4/23/2013 9:36AM

    Well done, Gemladyone - you are a STAR!

It's been great having you on the Awesome A Team - you're a real asset! I didn't do so well on the challenge but I have, nevertheless, made some changes for the better and I did lose a Little weight!

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JKTENTATIVE 4/23/2013 9:20AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LJR4HEALTH 4/23/2013 7:00AM

    emoticon on exceeding your 5% goal

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WELLNESSME09 4/23/2013 6:26AM

    emoticon blog!
Love these challenges also, it has helped me in so many ways.

emoticon on your success thus far...wishing you the very best in the next challenge. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FLYCHRISTI 4/23/2013 4:44AM

    Great blog! emoticon for your results (I don't mean only the weight loss!)
I am looking forward too to the next challenge.
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POPSY190 4/23/2013 3:10AM

    Great blog. The challenges are wonderful, aren't they and full of interest!

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CERIUSLY 4/22/2013 9:52PM

    Grreat Blog!Congratulations on your outstanding success! I am excited to hear such great comments about the 5% Challenge!

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MICKEYH 4/22/2013 6:14PM

    Wha-oh !! Great blog Alie!! You are a wonderful promoter of this challenge. And your great experience and success about challenge is really rocks !! Congratulations.
I so did enjoy being your friend and teammate. Looking forwards to another round of
emoticon with you. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JLEMUS1 4/22/2013 1:23PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LOOKINGUP2012 4/22/2013 12:06PM

    Loved the last challenge too! emoticon emoticon emoticon on exceeding your goal.

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Reflecting on the Past 8 Weeks - Progress Update and Next Steps

Thursday, April 18, 2013

As we are nearly through the final week of the 8 week Winter into Spring 5% Challenge, I have been reflecting on my progress and lessons learned.

So, first some statistics…my goal for the eight week 5% challenge was to lose 9 pounds. As of the 7th week, I’ve managed to lose 15 pounds. So, emoticon , right? Yes and then some, but the weight loss wasn’t the big win for me in this challenge. I want to explore the "big win" some more in a bit, but first, let’s look at the rest of the list of goals I had at the beginning of the challenge. The goals (or commitments) I made at that time were: to continue tracking everything I consumed, staying in the recommended ranges of my SP diet, complete the 8 week training plan (3 days per week) for the 5K Running for Rookies program, complete an official 5K race at the end of it, continue with Zumba 2 days a week, complete the February Bootcamp challenge, and after the end of the 28 days, incorporate those or other strength training exercises into my fitness schedule at least 2 days per week. Somehow, I’ve managed all of this, so emoticon and at this point, a lot of it is routine or automatic. So, then what’s the "big win"?

In the “My Journey so Far...” blog of February 16th, I talked about what I was going to do differently this time around, which in a nutshell is to make some permanent changes toward a healthier lifestyle, and not just temporarily make changes to meet a weight loss goal. In this 5% challenge, aside from tracking fitness minutes and weight loss, each week we were given a different healthy habit or activity to focus on to earn points for our team. Some of these were easier for me than others because they were things I was already focusing on, but I found that even for those, specifically tracking them for a week was a great check up on how well I was really doing. In week 2, we were supposed to blog each day about one specific healthy habit that we wanted to develop. Just blogging every day was a bit out of my comfort zone, but it did really get me to think through ways to better focus on the one habit…I chose freggies for the one to look at during that week. Interestingly in the last week of the challenge, our LTGL points were for freggies! And I found in week 8, (as I started counting them up each day to record the points) that I was getting more than 5 each day, and normally between 7 and 10 servings. Wow, so the freggie habit had become a true habit, and all my meal planning and shopping patterns had changed to support this without any specific effort.

Success! This is an example of a healthy behavior that is becoming a habit…exactly what I was missing before.

I truly believe that the way for me to meet my goals to be at a healthy weight and to be fitter, is to change my habits in a way that will automatically achieve and support those goals, and in that way, I’ll be prepared to enter the land of “maintenance” once I’m at goal weight.

The freggie habit is just an example. In general, I think the 8 week 5% challenge has in many ways propelled me towards my ultimate goal…a healthy lifestyle, and the support and advice of my team-mates on the Awesome A team has been wonderful.

So, now what’s next? Well, I plan to continue with my program (reinforcing the healthy habits), and have signed up for the next 5% Challenge on the same emoticon A team. I know I can do this, so I’ll keep pushing along as we head into summer, toward goal weight and into the land of “maintenance”.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PREDFAN 4/20/2013 12:39PM

    Alie so proud of you! I love this blog! You and I have so much in common and seem to be in the same place. We both lost to gain and are doing it again, but with a much different mindset! I am so glad that you ended up on the A's and we have become friends! I too am so happy with the results of what this challenge and team gave to me!
Keep up the great work! emoticon emoticon emoticon A's!!!

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BELIEVING-N-ME 4/19/2013 9:57AM


WooHoo! on meeting your goals! Congrats on the 15 pounds lost. You are doing great!

Thank you so much your all your support and encouragement!

Glad that you will be returning to the emoticon A's for the next challenge!

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MINNA72 4/19/2013 4:13AM

    Wow, Alie - you really have exceeded all your goals! How awesome are YOU???

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

I am so glad to see you're staying with the A's, I've enjoyed getting to know you and look forward to more of that!

Congrats on your successes!

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MICKEYH 4/19/2013 1:17AM

    Whoa-oh !! Way to go Alie you did so great!! almost lost twice as planed. So proud of you. And personally I want to thank you so much for your support thru out the challenge and your great friendship. You are doing great towards for your goal also along the way you were helping so many teammate thru your participation for the team and your individual encouragement. I can't believe our challenge is almost to the end.
I miss this challenge already. But so glad I've leaned a lot more about healthy living.

Since you love your freggie so much, I will recommend a book called " Eat to Live" by
Joel Fuhrman MD. you can learn so much about what a health benefit of eating freggie and healthy living life style and recipes. I enjoyed so much and leaned a lot from this book. (*^^*) Take care and Have a nice weekend. (^O^)/

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LIVERIGHTNOW 4/18/2013 11:42PM

    Alie, Feels good, doesn't it???? I can tell you are pleased, as you should be!!!!! Glad you are staying with us next round. Congratulations on leaving 15 pounds behind!!!!!-Kris

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TURTLETALK 4/18/2013 6:16PM

    Yes, I think the 5% challenge was a big win for you and for the Amazing Awesome A's! emoticon

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BRITTTURTLE 4/18/2013 4:34PM


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Strawberry Pie

Saturday, March 16, 2013

For those of you who have read my recent blogs and posts about strawberry season and strawberry pie, I've shared the recipe on SP. Here's the link:



I hope you enjoy! (I fully intend to later today). emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MINNA72 4/19/2013 4:19AM

    Yum, This looks so good! Have to try this (after I figure out all the equivalent stuff you've used)!

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BELIEVING-N-ME 3/18/2013 9:39PM

    Yummy! I love emoticon

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    Went to it... the picture is very appetizing :)

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MICKEYH 3/16/2013 5:40PM

    Alie, This pie looks so yummy and thanks for sharing. I will definitely try it. emoticon emoticon

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TURTLETALK 3/16/2013 2:45PM

    That looks really yummy.

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POPSY190 3/16/2013 2:24PM

    It looks spectacular. Thank you.

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Walking / Running Blessings

Saturday, March 09, 2013

This time of year, I can't help but be grateful for living where it's warm, and lately since I've added walking and running to my exercise program, I cannot really understand why I ever stopped. As you'll see, I am blessed to live near a quite beautiful and safe place where I can walk or run any time of the day or night.

This week, I've taken some pictures of my favorite walking / running path and yesterday I promised my 5% team-mates on the emoticon A team that I'd post them, so here you go.....

A 2 minute warm up walk from my house takes me to the Intracoastal waterway where the city maintains a nice walking / jogging path along the sea wall. I'll apologize for the quality of these pics, since they're from my phone. They were taken on two different days. I normally do my walking / jogging intervals up to the draw bridge you can just see in the background of this picture:

These two were taken yesterday by DH who was only walking and you might be able to just barely see me in blue running away from the camera in the distance.

So, I walk / jog along this stretch to the draw bridge you could see in the background of the picture (it was open at the time), then return finishing my training, and then walk the rest of the way back to the house. These last ones I took myself (also from phone) on the way back on Wednesday.

These are darker since it was close to sunset when I finished on that day, and they're taken on my return walk. This one is looking back toward the bridge.

There is always a breeze along the waterway, even in summer when it's really hot, so it's cooler than anywhere else in the city.

We like this part of the city where houses weren't allowed to be built directly on the water, so that it's free for all to use. The houses are across the street, and many of them have docks for boats or fishing. Since the walkway is public, most have locked gates to keep them secure. The white gate you see in this one is one of them.

There are so many of my neighbors using this walking path, it's nice to see everyone out, walking, jogging, pushing baby carriages, walking or jogging with dogs, or just playing frisbee in the grassy areas.

Some of you have wondered why I like to walk so much, and now you can see part of the reason why it's one of my favorite forms of exercise. The round trip to the bridge and back is just over 3 miles and as my running training progresses, I'm running more of it and the time is getting faster. Soon, I'll be crossing the bridge to expand my route to a longer distance.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing where I like to exercise!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GWINNER1 3/10/2013 9:28PM

    How beautiful Alison! I see why you enjoy walking this route. I'd love it too. I like walking too but the scenery is not nearly as pretty and the weather doesn't cooperate either. emoticon

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MINNA72 3/10/2013 5:29PM

    Oh, that is so pretty! And totally envious of the weather! :)

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LIVERIGHTNOW 3/10/2013 2:12PM

    jealous! How wonderful! Thank you for sharing your pics

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MICKEYH 3/9/2013 6:51PM

    Love your walking path!! We are so lucky to live warmer climate. I enjoy all year around where I live also. Sometime I feel so sorry for my friends who live up noth in the cold winter time. Thanks for sharing!! emoticon emoticon

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    A walk like that would be very, very good reason to walk! How beautiful, Alie!

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TURTLETALK 3/9/2013 5:48PM

    How beautiful. I love to walk but I don't have anything like that on my route!

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GINNABOOTS 3/9/2013 4:55PM

    Just beautiful. I am waiting for the snow to melt and then it will be beautiful, but not yet. Thank you for sharing, I wish I was there to go running!

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BELIEVING-N-ME 3/9/2013 4:34PM

    What a beautiful setting, to have to walk in; wish I had somewhere like that to walk. Thank you for sharing your walk with us.

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POPSY190 3/9/2013 3:41PM

    What a glorious outside gym you have! We are lucky, too, to have safe and beautiful surroundings and I much prefer to walk outside than on the treadmill.

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5% Week 2 Blog #7 - What else would I like to share with my team (and everyone else)?

Friday, March 08, 2013

For me, this will just be simply a heartfelt thank you for all the inspiration, encouragement and advice you've all given me. Positive reinforcements from our team mates and other Sparkfriends can really inspire us to do more than we thought we could. I just love being an emoticon A! So, thank for all your support! Let's keep rockin’ all the way to the UK.

P.S. I’m looking forward to the stretching….should be much easier in more ways than one, (and something I do anyway, but not always 10 minutes, so good habit building)!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POPSY190 3/8/2013 8:09PM

    Thank you for your blogs which I have enjoyed. I've done one stretching session today and will fit in another later. I think I'm going to enjoy this challenge just as much as the blogging one!

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BELIEVING-N-ME 3/8/2013 7:57PM

    Alie, glad you are part of the emoticon A team! emoticon

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    LOL! I said that too about the stretching... HA! Great minds!!!

Thanks to you too, Alie!!!!

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SLIMLEAF 3/8/2013 5:49PM

    I'm glad you're enjoying being Awesome! emoticon

Keep up the good work!

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MICKEYH 3/8/2013 5:27PM

    I am right with you Alie, So glad we are emoticon A's together. emoticon emoticon do you think Yoga count as stretching? emoticon emoticon

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PILLYWIGGIN 3/8/2013 4:44PM

    Totally agree with you Alie! emoticon

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MOSTMOM1 3/8/2013 4:37PM

    I just love this challenge and this team!

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    These blogs have been so fun to read, Alie! I'm looking forward to the stretching too...

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