GEMLADYONE's SparkPeople Blog GEMLADYONE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Try the 5% Challenge.....Summer sign up is open! The 5% challenges are a fun way to meet new friends, learn how to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle, and lose weight. <BR> <BR> Team members will work towards losing 5% of their starting weight in 8 weeks by participating in team challenges that focus on exercise & healthy lifestyle habits. <BR> <BR> The upcoming Summer challenge starts in a few weeks, and it will be my 7th one. I've found the 5% challenges to be a great way to stay motivated as well as learn tips and tricks ... Sun, 25 May 2014 00:32:20 EST Beginning of BLC 25 - Fitness Test This weekend for the beginning of BLC 25, we were supposed to do a fitness test (push ups, crunches, 1 mile walk / run, and 3 minute step test). The point is to measure our fitness to compare against later on to have some way to measure progress relative to fitness. <BR> <BR> My test results were: <BR> <BR> pushups - 36 <BR> crunches - 40 <BR> 1 mile run - 9:13 min. <BR> 3 minute step test - HR 120 <BR> <BR> Now I don't really have anything to compare against as I've never done these test... Sun, 4 May 2014 20:04:33 EST Sign up for the Spring 5% Challenge is open! The 5% challenges are a fun way to meet new friends, learn how to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle, and lose weight. <BR> <BR> Team members will work towards losing 5% of their starting weight in 8 weeks by participating in team challenges that focus on exercise & healthy lifestyle habits. <BR> <BR> The upcoming Spring challenge starts in a few weeks, and it will be my 6th one. I've found the 5% challenges to be a great way to stay motivated as well as learn tips and trick... Sun, 16 Mar 2014 23:04:21 EST Redemption Hike / Climb On our New Mexico trip last week, we went for a hike / climb at a place called Tent Rocks. This was a redemption hike for me. Two years ago we were there also in winter and went to Tent Rocks with the family to hike the canyon and climb to the top, but I could not physically do it and had to wait part way up for the rest of them to go to the top and return. That was not a good feeling...embarrassing at the least. So, last week we did it. It's not a long hike, about 2.5 miles round trip w... Sun, 2 Feb 2014 16:34:19 EST Before and After Pics! One couple’s year of transformation…. During December 2013, I reached final goal weight after a year of religious tracking, staying in range, and exercising. It all paid off! I posted a blog a couple of weeks ago summarizing my journey in 2013: <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5574967 </link> Check it out if you haven’t seen it as it tells more about what that journey accomplished and more importantly how it worked. <BR> <BR> Now I want to share some “before” and “after” pictures w... Fri, 10 Jan 2014 10:32:37 EST A Journey from Obesity to Lean and Healthy - (2013 in Review) This month marks the one year anniversary of my return to Spark People and a commitment to do it right this time. I reached final goal this month and have transitioned to maintenance, so I wanted to recap the year’s progress. Anyone can do this, so I hope that maybe my story will encourage someone who is still thinking about doing it (as I was for 5 years previously). <BR> <BR> Here’s what SP helped me do in 2013 (by the numbers): <BR> <BR> Weight: 193 lbs to 120 lbs – shed 73 lbs (38%) ... Sun, 29 Dec 2013 20:08:54 EST I’m a Pear !! Halfway point Goal Check for Fall 5% Challenge Today is the halfway point of the 8 week Fall 5% Challenge and for me it’s measurement day, and time for a goal check. <BR> <BR> Here’s how the first 4 weeks have gone for me by the numbers: <BR> Weight: (8.3 lbs) (6.1%) <BR> Chest: (2.5 in) <BR> Waist: (2.0 in) <BR> Hips: (1.0 in) <BR> Thigh: (0.5 in) <BR> Neck: -- <BR> Arm: -- <BR> Total Inches lost: (6.0 in) <BR> Waist to Hip Ratio: (0.05) I’m finally a pear !! So sick of being an avocado, so this is a big <em>244</em> ... Sat, 9 Nov 2013 10:23:57 EST Somebody missed me! (Three of them actually) Home again from vacation. Today was our first day back (and at work). After work, went for a run (it's MUCH hotter here than in the mountains), then grabbed a shower and after dinner sat down to relax with a bit of TV. <BR> <BR> Here I am relaxing in my easy chair, wearing my new (size medium, yay!) Hello Kitty PJ's and covered by 3 cats who evidently missed their mom when she was on vacation! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It's ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 21:56:22 EST A longer hike than planned….and more pics! Yesterday we planned a full day….a hike at Linville Falls (a long time favorite of ours), some fishing, and a run. We started out to the Parkway and the falls with a low cloud cover and fog….but you never know as a few miles (or minutes) later, it can all be different! <BR> <BR> When we arrived at the entrance to the Linville Falls visitor center and trailhead, the weather had cleared up to a beautiful day, and we found that the government shut down would affect our plans more than we expec... Wed, 16 Oct 2013 12:22:35 EST A waterfall can be a NSV! Yesterday was another NSV that I want to share....we decided to take a hike to a waterfall from the Blue Ridge Parkway that we had attempted before and not been able to do. We were at the same place two years ago in fall and wanted to see the waterfall, but I was afraid I would not be able to get back. It's a short hike to the waterfall (less than 1 mile) but all down hill...and at that time, I was very overweight and totally out of shape so after driving up there, and talking to the ranger... Mon, 14 Oct 2013 23:31:22 EST A Day up on the Roan (Mountain) with pics! Yesterday we wanted to do a longer hike, so went up on the Roan to hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT). We started at Carver’s Gap at the North Carolina / Tennessee line (5,512' elevation) and headed north toward the Balds. (On this mountain, there are open grassy spaces at the tops of many of the ridges, which are called Balds). The valley below on the NC side was just starting to show fall colors, and was just beautiful with the sun shining on it. <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeo... Fri, 11 Oct 2013 23:39:40 EST Flight Plan for Fall 5% challenge Here’s my plan for meeting my 5% goal in the Fall challenge: <BR> <BR> Tracking food & drink – track absolutely EVERYTHING I put in my mouth. This has worked well for me so far this year as I’ve lost 60 pounds and is definitely the foundation for everything else. I’m currently on a streak for tracking for 294 days! Not going to break this one any time soon, LOL! <BR> <BR> Nutrition – Sticking with the Spark diet, trying to stay within ranges for calories, fat, carbs, protein, and fiber. ... Tue, 8 Oct 2013 11:40:24 EST There's still time to sign up for Fall 5% Challenge! The Fall 5% Challenge starts in a couple of weeks, so there is still time to sign up. What is a 5% challenge you ask? Well, it's 8 weeks where we compete as teams, and travel virtually to exotic destinations around the world. We earn miles for travel with fitness minutes and earn points for learning and incorporating healthy habits into our lifestyle. The overall goal is to lose 5% of our body weight in the 8 weeks' journey. <BR> <BR> If you want to try something fun and different and wo... Fri, 27 Sep 2013 19:20:24 EST Summer 5% Challenge Wrap up – Progress & Goal Check Today is the final day of the Summer 5% Challenge, so I wanted to record some statistics of my personal progress during these last eight weeks: <BR> <BR> Weight - Down 10 pounds (7%) to 132 <em>248</em> <BR> Measurements - Down a total of 7.5 inches: <em>9</em> <BR> Chest (2)” <BR> Waist (3)” <BR> Hips (1.5)” <BR> Thigh (0.5)” <BR> Arm (0.5)” <BR> Waist to Hip Ratio - Down from .84 to .81 (still an avocado, but getting close to a pear!) <BR> Body Fat % - Down 1.7% <BR> <BR> I didn't... Sat, 21 Sep 2013 12:08:35 EST The Key to Success For Week 2 of the Summer 5% Challenge, the healthy habit we are scoring points for is tracking our nutrition. When the announcement was made about the week 2 LTGL habit, my first thought was “Great! I do this already and it’ll be easy!” Then I started thinking about why I do it and what it has meant to me and decided to blog about it today, the start of our Week 2. <BR> <BR> On my seven month journey (this time around), as I’ve been losing weight and down-sizing, many people have commente... Sat, 3 Aug 2013 11:57:16 EST Before and Recent Pics (not after yet...still in progress!) I've been toying with the idea of putting up before and after pics on my page. Well there is no after yet since I"m still in progress, but I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and putting up some before and now pics. <BR> <BR> So, those who've read my journey and progress blogs may remember that I got serious about doing something about all this extra weight in December 2012. My hubby and I had just gone on a wonderful cruise and enjoyed it very much. I'd been exercising for a couple of ... Thu, 25 Jul 2013 17:25:08 EST Laundry Day - With Help! (and pics) It's laundry day and someone decided to help (putting a washcloth in the dryer, or at least on the door!) <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Then he (Boogie) decided to get comfy inside the dryer.. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Meanwhile, sissy (Angel) has decided to make a nest in the clean clothes waiting to be folded. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> The... Mon, 22 Jul 2013 22:56:43 EST Progress, Goal Check and 'How I Got Here' As part of preparation for the start of the Summer 5% Challenge, I wanted to review and document in one place where I am today on my journey toward a healthier body and lifestyle, review my goals, and document the strategy to get there. <BR> <BR> In reviewing my progress so far, it's clear that the 5% challenges have been a big part of maintaining my focus and pushing me to continue along the path to healthiness (is that even a word?, LOL). They encouraged me to try different things and lea... Sat, 20 Jul 2013 13:07:26 EST Cute find in an antique shop Yesterday on our town trip for freggies, we poked around in some shops and I found this super cute pitcher (and you all know I love cats, and collect them in every form). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> These day lillies are growing wild everywhere on the road sides and trails (where there is sun) and I was looking for something to put some in for our table. The cat pitcher holds them perfectly! Each day new ones open so we have fre... Tue, 2 Jul 2013 11:57:19 EST Fishing (with pics) Went fishing today in the river by the house, and after a short hike, up and down a creek that runs into it. I caught a rainbow trout almost right away, and didn't even have to resort to worms! (I usually switch to worms after an hour or two if I haven't caught anything with a lure). <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So, if the fish looks a little brown for a rainbow, it's because he got away from me and flopped into the sand on the bank befo... Sun, 30 Jun 2013 22:58:21 EST 5% Challenge Helps Build Healthy Lifestyle and Lose Weight 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.... Mon, 22 Apr 2013 11:50:48 EST Reflecting on the Past 8 Weeks - Progress Update and Next Steps 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. <BR> <BR> 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, <em>248</em> , 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 ... Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:31:27 EST Strawberry Pie 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: <BR> <BR> <em>45</em> <BR> <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=2387870 </link> <BR> <em>45</em> <BR> <BR> I hope you enjoy! (I fully intend to later today). <em>246</em> Sat, 16 Mar 2013 14:21:26 EST Walking / Running Blessings 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. <BR> <BR> This week, I've taken some pictures of my favorite walking / running path and yesterday I promised my 5% team-mates on the <em>345</em> A team that I'd post ... Sat, 9 Mar 2013 15:38:23 EST 5% Week 2 Blog #7 - What else would I like to share with my team (and everyone else)? 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 <em>345</em> A! So, thank for all your support! Let's keep rockin’ all the way to the UK. <BR> <BR> P.S. I’m looking forward to the stretching….should be much easier in more ways than one, (and something I do anyway,... Fri, 8 Mar 2013 15:35:52 EST Healthy Habit part #6 - What advice or motivation help do I need? Through this week’s blogs on developing or strengthening a healthy habit, many of you have made suggestions and shared tips and encouragement on how to get enough F&V servings each day. I’ve certainly appreciated everyone’s comments and suggestions. <em>304</em> <BR> <BR> Any other tips are always welcome! Other than that, I don’t think I really have any other specific advice on this subject that I could ask for. Hmm….I guess I do know where to ask when I do though! <BR> <BR> <em>4... Thu, 7 Mar 2013 18:50:53 EST Healthy Habit part #5 - What can I improve upon? I actually love both fruits and veggies and will eat both as either snacks or side dishes at meals, providing it’s EASY. So, if they’re already cut up, and ready to take along or to put with a meal, it’s not so hard. What happens is I get in a hurry and either there’s nothing in the fridge, or it’s not cut up to go along, and I grab something else. Carrots are one of my favorite snacks. I buy those baby carrots (I know they’re not really babies, but that’s what they’re called), and keep t... Wed, 6 Mar 2013 09:57:12 EST Healthy Habit part #4 - How am I doing day by day? This week, I'm focusing on tracking to be sure I'm getting enough servings of F&V. Since I already track all my food, this is mainly a matter of checking the F&V servings and being conscious of including enough into my meals and snacks for the day. <BR> <BR> This week has been a little different since I am home, but my husband is mostly away, a switch for us. I'm much better about planning meals when he's here, and when not, tend more towards snacking rather than preparing a full meal, b... Tue, 5 Mar 2013 21:27:53 EST Healthy Habit part #3 - How will I stay on track? So, for today, we're supposed to say how we will stay on track and encouraged to reinforce our new healthy habit, which for me this week is to be sure I'm getting at least 5 servings of F&V daily. <em>277</em> <em>291</em> <BR> <BR> I suppose it really comes down to the fact that if I’m going to spend all the time tracking my food, and trying to eat healthy, it doesn’t make any sense to still miss out on an important nutrition facet. So, like staying in my recommended ranges for calo... Mon, 4 Mar 2013 14:28:22 EST Healthy Habit part #2 - How will I do it? The healthy habit I want to review and work on this week is be sure I'm getting enough Fruits & Veggie servings each day, and to ajdust my eating habits if not. <BR> <BR> I already track religiously EVERYTHING that goes in my mouth (that is the only way for me to realistically get a handle on eating as I learned years ago)…so when I’m planning my meals, I will now also start counting and make sure I’ve got enough servings of F&V for the day. <BR> <BR> It could very well be that I’m actually... Sun, 3 Mar 2013 13:47:14 EST 5% Challenge Week 2 - Everyday healthy habit to develop: Daily F&V servings I’ve been on the SP diet now for almost 3 months, with good results. I manage to stay within my recommended ranges every day, with only a few exceptions. So, I’ve learned how to control that fairly well, but what I haven’t been tracking is the fruit & veggie servings. I suspect it’s been ok, at least when I can plan my meals, otherwise I'd be hungry at the end of the day (calories). But I think I should focus a bit more on this, to be sure I’m getting proper nutrition, especially since I’... Sat, 2 Mar 2013 23:11:09 EST Winter to Spring 5% Challenge Commitments - restated for my team mates! I put my commitments on my Sparkpage last weekend before I got a team assignment, and some of this is in my blog of 2/16/13, but I thought I'd restate my commitments in a blog so that my team mates in the <em>345</em> A team can easily see them (from the team stream). So, here you go.... <BR> <BR> My commitments to my team mates for the 8 weeks are below. <BR> <BR> I will continue to meet my goals for the February Bootcamp and the 5K for Rookies program, including a 5K race in April. ... Tue, 19 Feb 2013 14:57:10 EST My journey so far, and some of the next stops on the way One of the assignments for the 5% Winter to Spring challenge I joined today is to list all the reasons I want to lose weight, what do I want to change, how do I want to look, how do I want to feel, what things will I be able to do in the future with a slimmer healthier body? And list all the OTHER things that I want to change! <BR> <BR> So, some of this I already put on my Sparkpage when I became active again on SP in December after 4 years off. But I should restate some of it, and expand ... Sat, 16 Feb 2013 23:56:08 EST