Stories from the 8 Week Challenge

 Talofa lava, Kia orana, Malo e lelei, Ni sa bula vinaka, Taloha ni, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Ia orana, Kam na mauri, Talofa, Aloha, Halo olaketa, Namaste, Kia ora.

Welcome to all our members, non-members and guests to our site.

We have recently completed the inaugural 8 week transformation challenge in which over 60 members participated.  It was all about changing our lives to improve our health and wellbeing for our future generations.

Congratulations to our Whangarei Branch who won the competition!

We are pleased to hear that for many people this was the mechanism that motivated many of the participants to start to eat more healthy and start to introduce some exercise into their daily lives.

This 8 week challenge has been a great idea to mobilise people to start to look at their health and wellbeing.  It is envisaged that this 8 week challenge will be something that happens directly after each AGM.

We are so proud of everyone who participated formally and informally and we encourage
everyone to keep eating healthy and to exercise.

We asked some people who participated in the 8 week challenge to share their journeys
with us all.  Thank you to those people who have agreed to do this.  We hope you are all
encouraged and inspired by their stories.

Here is the South Island write up. Thanks to Debra for this.

Debra Kesha Lloyd – Christchurch Branch

When our Southern VP (Alexandria Tino) returned from Conference with the “8-week challenge”, it instantly appealed as a branch initiative that could be fun.  My daughter Summer and I joined.

With the words “just make one lifestyle change that you can continue with” – from Allamanda (our Superwoman Triathlete), I keenly wrote up my goals.

I cut out sugar in my hot drinks and drank more water and herbal teas.  Restricted by a shoulder injury in my rotator cuff; walking was the exercise of choice.  When it suited our schedules, I really enjoyed the early morning walks with Summer as a chance to connect and be in nature.  We’d walk in parks, at reserves, by the river and at the beach.

My weight loss went down, then it went up and back down to what I’d lost at mid-way point.  Hmmm!!!  Admittedly, I did lose focus … but I’m continuing with the challenge for my own health and wellbeing.  Why?  –  It’s simple, I want to live my life fully with energy and abundance.

I recently spent 9 days with a dear friend who lives in the northern beaches of Sydney.  We walked each morning along beautiful coastlines, up to lighthouses, and along beaches.  It was great to notice my fitness level was much improved from an earlier visit.

Where I’m at now:

–          I realise “As the inner … so the outer”, hence I’m taking a holistic approach in resetting my goals (and including realistic time-frames)

–          I’m getting Chinese massage and acupuncture to sort my shoulder injury

–          My meal plan includes 4 vegetarian meals each week, and I’m shopping at markets for fresh/ organic fruit and veges.

Summer is enjoying “yoga” 3-4 times a week and goes for hikes on the weekend.  We still walk together when it suits.



Our members who went to the 2017 PACIFICA AGM and conference came back from Napier with this big challenge. 10% loss of total bodyweight in 8 weeks!

Of course Whangarei branch never turns down a challenge. We were in it even though we thought 8 weeks wasn’t long enough and maybe it should have gone for 12 weeks? Nevertheless, we registered and participated with Venee Mortimer as our Branch record keeper.

For me it was a timely challenge for so many reasons. I had an appointment with my GP and before I went I booked myself in to a “fitness class” so I could tell my doctor I’ve made a start on making healthy changes. The GP was worried about my borderline hypertension, borderline cholesterol, my weight and the stress I was having because of my husband’s own health challenges. I knew I needed to swap the ‘borderline’ to normal, hence taking on the challenge.

For me it is more than weight loss but a holistic approach to healthy living! As a nurse I know all about holistic, but many of us are also aware that knowing does not necessarily translate to doing. So it was time to walk the talk!

My GP wasn’t entirely happy with the exercise class I’d booked myself into, saying that at my age (say what??) and my level of fitness (huh??), maybe I should look at something less strenuous like yoga.  Still I went along to my first exercise class.
I summarised my reasons for going in Triple F plus S (FFFS) – Fitness, Flexibility, Fatness reduction and Strength build up.

After the first session, I was starting to believe what my GP said.  Oh Lord,  I discovered hidden sources of pain in every part of my body!  What I failed to tell you ladies is that this class  wasn’t just an exercise class like good old aerobics, it is a boot-camp and I think there were only 2 of us who were over 60! Try duck walking when your knees are 64 years old and haven’t stretched like that for years! I didn’t even know what burpees were? I knew the sit-ups, squats and roll ups but not burpees.

But  I wanted to continue and prove I am not a person who gives up. Do or Die I say! And at times I felt like I was dying! But each session I attended, it got more easier and made me feel better. My sleeping improved 100%. I felt more energized and my blood pressure recordings at work were starting to come down. Yippee! My weight was dropping a little.

Due to urgent family matters, I had to make a trip to Samoa after a month of good hard effort at the gym, missing my last 2 weeks of the class challenge, which I was disappointed about.  But in everything we do, it is family first. The great thing I found was I felt much more comfortable in the heat while I was in Samoa and coped very well with all the running around I had to do.

My exercise program now is 2 classes of RAOR bootcamp a week, with at least 3x 1 hour walks weekly.

I didn’t get to this size overnight and so I give myself time to change my eating habits to   having everything in moderation as I do love food. I also recognize that I do eat good food but my portions need to be downsized. Like other Pacific people, food plays an important role in my social life. I cannot deny that, but we can try and change ourselves to eat only what we need, which is  very hard when we associate food with warm feelings of home, families and happiness.

I’m one of those people who needs frequent prodding and encouragement so I was so happy when my GP referred me to the Green Prescription people in Sport Northland. It means I have a lovely young lady who nags me politely to keep me on track. The boot-camp ladies are a great team and encouraging as well providing positive reinforcement which makes me feel motivated.

I have just turned the Gold Card age last week and I have no plans to retire yet. So this was another motivation factor to be well and healthy so when I decide to finish work and retire, I can enjoy a full life with little or no health challenges. I want to travel and do the things I love to do and maybe even learn a new sport like golf, or join a women’s choir, or play the guitar. The options are endless when you have great health, hence continuing with healthy eating and physical activities.

I know you will all wish me well. Cheers all.

Tafale Maddren.


So I finally have a chance to write about my experience doing the 8 Week Challenge. I’m pretty pleased with what I have achieved but have a long way to go.

Basically I ate healthy and applied moderation to my eating and exercise to each day (where possible).

– Recognisable weight loss
– Fitting clothes I haven’t worn in a while
– More toned
– Fitter and look forward to my daily walk/workout

– I CAN change the way I look and feel by managing the way I eat (healthy/small portion sizes) and exercise

– Take it one day at a time – some days will be harder than others especially when feeling down. Just get back up if you fall over. 
– I CAN make healthy decisions for myself.
– I am more confident in life when I feel good about myself. It’s not about vanity. Its about living healthy.

– When I go into a café or restaurant I scan the menu for the healthiest option available
– I choose salads over meat any day 
– Eat red meat once a week
– Choose soy/almond milk over dairy
– Am conscious of sugar intake (if any)
– Limit dairy and bread
– No eating after 8pm
– Drink lots of water

It’s been a hard challenge but I’m pleased I experienced some transformation for myself, Yay!!

Thanks to National Pacifica for a great initiative for Pacifica health.

🌸Healthy choices means 🌸Healthy lives 



Malo e lelei kau fefine.

Thank you for all the efforts invested in our health.  The aim of the 8 weeks Challenge was to make an impact on our journey to a healthier us, to enjoy a healthier lifestyle with our families.  Above is a photo of me before the challenge.

I started with focus and determination losing 6% within the first 4 weeks of our challenge.  What worked during those first four weeks, was changing my behaviour, drinking water and eating up to 1000 calories a day and enjoying a half hour daily walk with my family.  I have a tracking device (Fitbit) that I use to record weight loss, calorie intake, exercise, water intake and sleep. It helped to keep me focused.

Weeks 5-6 was tough because I thought I knew how to do it and lost control of my calorie intake; despite my walks and drinking loads of water the progress was slow. Although people commented on my weight loss, I knew I needed to get back on track. I also received comments from other’s who had seen us on facebook along with the sessions with Aaron Vaisigano, that the tips worked and they enjoyed following our progress. Their enthusiasm and knowing that our efforts impacted positively on others, re-energised me and so I began the last two weeks with vigour!

Weeks 7-8, I accepted the team challenges on Fitbit – this is where a group of us, see our steps ranked highest number of steps to the lowest on a daily basis. The banter during the days of the steps challenged was great. I also maintained calorie intake to less than 1000 calories a day. And on the last day, I achieved the 10% weight loss. 

Lessons learnt in the last eight weeks, taking the journey as a collective (family, friends, self) and having an awareness of calories intake (what I eat) has been the most helpful to me.  Yes, I did celebrate my achievements with Pop Corn, Ice cream followed by a toasted cheese sandwich.  But on the following day I resumed focus, one meal at a time! 

Keep an eye on our facebook page for monthly tips as many of us will continue til the next AGM in February 2018 but we are not reporting on this one. Feel free to contribute to the talanoa on facebook and post your ‘healthier us’ journey.

‘Ofa atu

We wish to also congratulate Anahila for making number 36 on the Labour’s member list.  Well done Anahila. Not only do we congratulate you about your listing but also on your weight loss (to the left is her ‘after’ photo).

Keep an eye out for one more story from the Southern Region.



From the National Executive, P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A Inc