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!

Days 15, 16 and 17

Weight loss and healthy living are not glamorous. There usually aren’t any gold stars or awards for the times when you make the healthy choice and no one sees you do it. It can be very difficult to resist chocolate cake, fried chicken, fast food, ice cream, etc., especially when you’re by yourself. You will give in sometimes. That’s normal. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Wipe the crumbs off your chin, dust yourself off and do better tomorrow. Don’t give up.

More important, get involved in a group effort, like Mission: Incredible. Groups are everywhere and there is nothing like the encouragement and support you can receive from regular, everyday folks just like yourself who are dealing with the challenges of striving toward a healthier life.

Mission: Incredible is an open group on Facebook, so feel free to join us there. We support, inspire and spur each other on to go a little farther and do a little more every day. Many of our members have taken to posting photos of their treadmill screens to show off their progress. It’s getting to be a great competition!

Cheryl G. posted recently, “After walking around looking like “Paul-etta” Bunyon while removing large limbs from a crab apple tree on yesterday, I slept the entire night without feeling like my chest was going to cave in and needing my inhaler. I owe it completely to our quest for healthier living. Hopefully one day I’ll be saying “Inhaler, what? I don’t need that.”

Cheryl G. has lost more than seven pounds since the start of Mission: Incredible and is back in “One-derland”, her term for getting her weight back under two-hundred pounds. Cheryl’s reason for joining M:I? “I just really want to focus on loving me every day and living my truth.” Amen, sister.

Kyle F. and Shanita R. are two examples of real go-getters in our group. Kyle regularly runs 6-12 miles while overseas on his deployment and says, “I gotta beat a teenager in November. I’m not ready to give up my title.”

When he returns to the States for a holiday break this fall, Kyle is running a 10K with his son. Kyle is the comic relief in our group, and makes it a point to give encouragement to other members daily.

Shanita recently posted 60 minutes of Zumba, 3 miles on the elliptical machine and 200 (damn!) sit-ups in one day. Impressive! Shanita says, “Slow and steady wins the race. I couldn’t finish an entire class of Zumba at first, but after 4 days a week for four weeks, I’m in charge. I love the class and highly recommend it. I’m going to check it out on the Wii. My hubby is enjoying the results!” Hear that, Ladies and Gents?

Gladys M. joined Mission: Incredible and immediately made an impact by posting photos of her progress on the treadmill. She’s increasing her distance almost daily, and it’s inspiring her and others in the group. Gladys consistently checks in with her G1 dietary intake.

“Last week at church the pastor challenged us to eat better. Trying my best,” she said recently. For many members, paying closer attention to what they eat – and sharing it with others – encourages them to make healthier choices.

Yesterday, I took to the trail and spoke with some of the regulars at City Park, folks who are there nearly every day. Some of them walk or run alone, but many of them found greater success when they began exercising as a group.

I spoke with a set of regulars, Mr. Charles Julian, Mr. Ronald Dauphin, and Mr. Eric Fobbs, who walk an average of 6 miles per day, 5 to 6 times per week. All three are retired and walk to control health issues, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and recovery from open-heart surgery, just to name a few.

Julian, Dauphin and Fobbs are a fun bunch, and seem to truly enjoy each other’s company. I doubt if they would accomplish as much if they were going it alone. You can find them spending time together long after their walk is done, on their favorite bench, joking and laughing with other regulars making their way around the track.

My dad is convinced that they just like watching the women walk and jog by, but if that gets them out of bed every morning to exercise, so be it. Community building is a big key, I believe to success at making any kind of change.

Side note: I did a weigh-in on Monday, September 19th, and had lost two pounds. Nice!

Here’s my consolidated check-in for days 15, 16 and 17:

G1: On Wednesday: yogurt, fruit and fortified orange juice for breakfast; a grilled chicken and shrimp shish kabob and fried rice for lunch; a mixed green salad and one serving (Yay!) of spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner. A large peach as a snack. Water throughout the day.

On Tuesday: yogurt and fruit for breakfast, salad with chicken for lunch, snacked on ginger snaps, and grilled salmon and brown rice sushi for dinner with more fruit. Water throughout the day.

On Monday: grilled chicken with lots of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber and red and yellow bell pepper; succumbed to my lesser self and snacked on potato chips and M&Ms while at work; I know better than to go to work without Ziploc bags of carrots and fruit, so I’ll get back to that habit. I had beans, chicken, greens and Louisiana Satsumas (oranges) for dinner; only water to drink throughout the day.

G2: I still aim for 2 to 4 miles of walking per day, and I’ve added upper body work to my routine, concentrating on push-ups and dips for now. I’m going to add a couple exercises per week for a few weeks and see how it goes. I had always been proud of the definition in my arms when I was younger, so I’d like to get back to really impressive biceps and triceps. I’ll post pictures along the way.

G3: Things I’ve noticed: life can be very complex. Your workout doesn’t have to be. Find something that works for you, add challenges at regular intervals and you are guaranteed to start trending in the right direction.

Also, lack of sleep makes it very difficult to be your best in anything you do - especially exercise. Try to get your eight hours every night. I’m going to follow my own advice and get the hell off of Facebook early tonight! Have a great day!

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