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 23

I’ve got the blues.

Why? Because this food diary is blowing my denial out of the water. Believe me, my food choices over the last two years have been exponentially better than my food choices the previous ten years. However, meticulously keeping track of what I consume is showing me that I still have a lot to learn about healthy eating.

Case in point: my affair with the Colby Jack cheese stick. It looks innocent enough, and you think to yourself, “A tiny bit of cheese like that couldn’t possible hurt.” Oh, but friends it most certainly can. I had no idea a single cheese stick had anywhere from 6 to 10 grams of fat. Good grief.

So, on the second day of my 2500-calorie, 30-grams of fat regimen, I’m already noticing a disturbing trend: I tend to go autopilot to high-fat foods. I’m not really having a problem staying in the calorie range. In fact, I’ve come in under-count calorically. But my fat gram count was thrown off both days by my love of chocolate and an innocent, but ignorant, grab at a cheese stick. Crap.

Never fear, though. I’m going to conquer this thing and I’ve been doing a lot of label reading. For instance, I'm a southern girl and I love bacon and grits. Love them. Luuuuuuuvvvvvv them. The actual nutrition info off the back of a pack of instant, butter-flavored grits is 100 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. Not bad at all.

I've got to reduce my swine intake considerably (I'm a sucker for bacon and barbecue ribs), so I'm going to get some turkey bacon. The nutrition info for a slice of turkey bacon is 25 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.

So, a breakfast of 99 percent fat-free Yoplait strawberry yogurt (110 cals/1g fat), grits and two slices of turkey bacon would equal 260 calories and 5.5 grams of fat. Eureka! Add an 8 oz. glass of calcium-fortified juice and you've got a pretty good 350 calorie/5.5 grams of fat start to your day. Who says you can't have taste and health?

After only a couple of days on the new 2500/30 regimen, I’m realizing that it’s all in the way you work it. Certainly, you have to keep more than calories and fat grams in mind. Sodium and saturated fat are two biggees that I often overlook. It’s a matter of balance. Adding in lots of fiber, green vegetables and foods with antioxidants, omega-3s and vitamins is the way to go. It takes research and effort, though. You’ve got to build your commitment to it a little more each day.

Here’s my check in:

G1: Breakfast at 7:00 a.m. was a 4 oz. cup of Yoplait strawberry 99 percent fat-free yogurt (1g fat/110 cals) and two satsumas (0g fat/80 cals).

At 10:30 a.m., I snacked on an almond Snicker bar (11g fat/230 cals).

I was a hostage at a training seminar lunch at 12:00 p.m., and had 2 oz. of barbecue beef brisket (8g fat/200 cals) and ½ cup of baked beans (.5g fat/140 cals).

Around 3:00 p.m., I snacked on one peanut butter cracker (1g fat/30 cals), a large peach (0g fat/90 cals) and one Colby Jack cheese stick (7g fat/90 cals).

At 4:30 p.m., I had 8 oz. of fruit cocktail (0g fat/100 cals) and 5 multi grain crackers (2g fat/50 cals).

For dinner at 6:30 p.m., I had two five-section salmon sushi rolls (8g fat/600 cals) with soy sauce and wasabi.

The total for the day was 38.5 grams of fat and 1720 calories. Just like day one of the regimen, if you take away the chocolate and the cheese stick, I would be well under my fat limit.

G2: I had to get on the road at 6:30 a.m. this morning for an out-of-town meeting, so I did not get my walk in. I did do some light stretching, though, because my upper body was sore from the new exercises. I hit the trail at first light tomorrow. 

G3: I spoke with a co-worker today about body mass index. She’s actively working on getting healthier and visited the doctor recently for guidance on weight loss. She had a printout of her BMI measurement - it was 39.5. At a BMI of 35, I’m not that far behind her, so we agreed to help each other along the way.

Why is BMI important? The BMI's accuracy at assessing your increased risk of getting serious diseases makes it very important, according to the National Institutes of Health and the CDC.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute reports that you are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes if your BMI is between 25 and 29.9. Your risk of getting these three diseases is "high" if your BMI is between 30 and 34.9, "very high" if your BMI is 35 to 39.9 and "extremely high" if your BMI is 40 and above.

High BMIs also project increased risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, endometrial cancer, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, respiratory problems, sleep apnea and strokes.

Learn more about the importance of the BMI.

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