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 10

A couple times per week, I have the pleasure of getting in four miles on the track with my parents. They walk to keep health issues in check, but also to spend time together as a couple. They have a dedicated route they use when they come to the park, and it’s a challenge to get them to waver from it. They have a routine that gives them security, but gives me the blues.

I like variety and challenge in my walks. And while I’ll use the same trails, I try very often to walk them in variation. But I understand getting into a rhythm and wanting to keep it – even when it doesn’t work for you anymore.

Without new challenges, however, our exercise routines become stale and ineffective. We like the familiar because we’ve mastered it, but it becomes harder and harder to reach our weight loss or cardiovascular goals. We reach a plateau and lose our motivation.

What to do? See a specialist. Not a medical doctor, but a really good athletic gear professional. I lucked up and met one about two blocks from my house. Cody Scott is a salesperson at Massey’s Professional Outfitters on North Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans.

When I went in to talk to him about pedometers, I ended up getting a fantastic education on ways to keep my workout fresh and why we want to add in small challenges on a regular basis to keep our weight loss going. Cody was a wellspring of information on everything from the best shoes for walking and running to why you want to burn calories in the correct heart rate zones so you lose more weight.

A range of the latest fitness trend, "barefoot" sneakers. (Nicole Moliere/Nicole Moliere)

He also explained that while the shoes allow the foot to move and work in a completely natural way, while providing grip and protection over a variety of surfaces, not everyone is in the right shape to use them in their first 5K. Thanks, Cody! I’d hate to be a poseur with great shoes one day and debilitating shin splints the next day.

As I learned more about pedometers and heart rate monitors today, I realized that there are lots of technological advances that normal, everyday folks can use to enhance their workouts.

Some of that stuff looks intimidating (GPS tracking and the like), but is really very user friendly. Amy D. says, “I actually do use a pedometer. My gym has reward points for the steps you take. I have a program on my computer at home where I can upload my progress to their website.” See, I knew she’d be back on track!

Here's my check-in:

G1: I had orange juice and half a cup of dry Fiber One cereal for breakfast. Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but lately I’ve not been hungry in the mornings. I do make myself eat a little something, though.

Lunch was a small mixed green salad with sautéed shrimp and dinner was a small portion of shrimp and crab jambalaya with sliced cantaloupe. Cantaloupe is on sale a lot at my grocer these days, so I’m taking advantage of that.

G2: I got in four miles walking this morning, but after talking with Cody, I felt reenergized and decided to get another mile and half in this evening. My legs were sore, but it felt great to do a little extra.

G3: There was a beautiful male specimen on the track today doing incline pushups on one of the park benches. You know, toes on the bench, hands on the ground, and going at it like a Marine and popping off a quick twenty.

When I teased him about being a show off, he said, “Oh, I haven’t even started showing off yet!”  Indeed, my brother, indeed...LOL! If I tried to do one of those right now, I’d probably bust both lips and take out all my fronts, but it’s something to aspire to. Look to your fellow exercisers for inspiration, folks!

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