It's time to stop breaking the promises you make to yourself to eat right, exercise and develop healthier habits. For the next three months, from 05 September 2011 to 05 December 2011, MISSION: INCREDIBLE focuses on getting healthier one day at a time. There is only one rule: do a little more today than you did yesterday to keep your promise of taking better physical care of yourself. Follow that one rule - EVERYDAY - and the changes you see in three months will be incredible.

We're all at very different exercise levels and we all have different weight targets, but it's always nice to know you've got company on the journey. We'll focus on three goals as part of our daily check-in: G1 - diet (the good, the bad and the ugly); G2 - exercise (your physical exercise for that day); and, G3 - healthy habits (things we adopt or learn along the way that help). Join us and leave your comments below!

Day 43

While sitting in my car before hitting the walking trail yesterday, I checked Facebook on my smartphone. I was in a “Bah, humbug!” kind of mood and was hoping to get a pick-me-up in the form of a funny post from a few of my more humorous friends.

As I cycled through the birthday greetings (“Man, he’s old!”), soccer-dad updates (“Your kid probably rides the pine all game, dude…”), and inappropriate profile picture changes (“Good Lawd! What was she thinking?!”), I came across a status update that stopped me in my mean-girl tracks.

A woman that I attended high school with had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and doctors had given her six to twelve months to live.

I went from “snarky” to “scared crapless” in about ten seconds.

This woman was not a friend of mine in high school, but she is friends with lots of my friends, and their pain – evidenced by the responses to the initial Facebook status update - was palpable. She is only three years older than I am. She could be me.

In 2001, experts at the National Cancer Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health) found that colon, breast, uterine, kidney, and esophageal cancers are associated with obesity. Some studies have also reported links between obesity and cancers of the gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas.

These experts also concluded that preventing weight gain can reduce the risk of many cancers, and recommended that those who are already overweight or obese lose weight through a low-calorie diet and exercise. Even a small weight loss of only five to ten percent of total weight can provide health benefits (

As I sat in my car (I’ve been doing that a lot lately), I thought to myself, why am I trying to make all of these healthy changes in my life if it’s possible to get sick ANYWAY and be blindsided by a cancer you can’t beat?

The answer came to me in the form of my aunt, a seventy-year-old woman who died almost two years ago of pancreatic cancer. She was a beautiful, statuesque and formidable woman, and she NEVER left the house looking less than her best.

When she received her diagnosis, and the pronouncement that she only had a couple of weeks to live, she decided that she was ready to go, and she met death on her own terms.

Three weeks later, even in her coffin, she looked like a million bucks. She was a tough broad who would not allow anything to take her off her game of treating herself well – even unto death.

So there was the answer to my question: Even if cancer is my fate, I shouldn’t allow the fear of it to undermine the very best quality of life I can achieve NOW while I’m healthy. And neither should you.

I’ve decided to look at a healthier diet and more exercise as joys in and of themselves. They are their own reward, not punishment or deprivation or a sacrifice. Because I look at it this way, I’m happier. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

By the way, I weighed in today and I have lost eight pounds.

Here is my check-in:

Day 43

G1: Breakfast (8:00 a.m.) - Four slices of thin Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh 97 percent fat free ham (1g fat/40 cals); one serving of butter flavored grits (1.5g fat/100 cals); 8 oz. of calcium-fortified orange juice (0g fat/110 cals); one pear (0g fat/40 cals); water.

Lunch (11:00 a.m.) – one serving of homemade pasta with meat sauce (9g fat/400 cals); water.

Snack (1:30 p.m.) - a one oz. bag of Zapp's Crawtator potato chips (8g fat/150 cals); water.

Snack (2:30 p.m.) – one 2 oz. Three Musketeers chocolate bar (8g fat/230 cals).

Dinner (7:00 p.m.) - one serving of homemade pasta with meat sauce (9g fat/400 cals); one pear (0 g fat/40 cals); water.

The total for the day was 36.5 grams of fat and 1510 calories.

G2: One and a half miles walking in the morning and another one and a half in the evening.

G3: I didn’t have the best dietary day. There was very little variety, compulsive snacking and not enough greens or fiber. I’ll correct that tomorrow.

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