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.
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.
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, , 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 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 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”.
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 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!
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