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 18-21

Hello, Everyone! We’re three weeks into Mission: Incredible and I’m loving it! The feedback y’all are giving me is tremendous! I got this from Gladys M. over the weekend: “I tell you, once I make working out part of my routine, and I'm committed, it becomes a bit of an obsession. I'm less stressed, have more energy and am fitting better into my clothes, so this is one addiction I plan on keeping. You go Nick! You are our fearless leader so you know you have to represent!” I hear you, Gladys!

I did a weigh-in on Sunday, Day 21, and I’m down by three pounds (Yippee!), which is indeed incredible considering I’ve not really instituted any big changes in my diet or exercise regimen. But that’s going to change starting today.

Keep in mind that Mission: Incredible is all about small steps taken daily to garner big results. MI is individual, and all I ask is that you do something – anything – daily to keep your promise to yourself to eat right, exercise and live in a more healthy way.

However, there comes that time when you know you have to bump it up to the next level. And that’s where I am. If I were to finish out the twelve weeks of MI losing one pound per week on average, that would be great. But I know that I can go farther. And I plan to.

So far, I’ve merely watched my diet for major pitfalls like overeating, sweets, game day and special event overindulging, etc. For the next five weeks, I’m going to institute a 2500-calorie, 30-fat grams or less diet. There are no exclusions, meaning I can eat anything I want, but it can only add up to 2500 calories and 30 grams of fat per day. This means I really have to pay attention to serving size, nutritional value and calories.

So you guys get to see a food diary in action. After you see mine every day for five weeks, you have no excuse not to do one of your own. I’m an ordinary woman; meaning, you’re going to see regular food on this thing, stuff that’s easy to get from the grocery store with very little effort.

I’m also going to put a dedicated exercise regimen in place that specifically targets my upper body. I will continue to walk five to six times per week, but I’m adding in several upper body exercises to increase my heart rate and fat-burning ability. I tend to gain weight around the middle and back, so it’s time to put in some work for those areas.

This is not going to be anything drastic or complicated. I have a gym membership, but these are exercises anyone can do anywhere. So stop your whining about not having time to drive out to the gym. You can do this with minimal effort.

I’m also going to begin really hitting it hard and heavy on the obesity, high-blood pressure and diabetes information. These diseases have become so commonplace in the African-American community that they don’t even turn our heads anymore. That’s got to change. We’re going to our graves earlier and earlier, and it’s all preventable and correctable. We have to do better – for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.

Instead of the recap check-in that I would normally do for days 18 to 21, here’s a preview of what you’ll start seeing in my G1, G2 and G3 reports:

G1: So what does a 2500-calorie, 30-grams of fat day look like? See this link ( for great examples. You don’t have to eat just “fruits and berries” to stay within this caloric and fat parameter. For instance, I love bacon, but the real thing is something I just cannot have every day if I want to stay healthy.

Therefore, I’m going to bite the bullet and get some turkey bacon. One slice has about 25 calories and two grams of fat, so it can easily fit into a 500-calorie breakfast – but only once or twice per week. There are millions of ways to still get the taste of food you like into a healthy diet, but you have to make the effort of doing a little research. You’ll see this in my food diary.

G2: I will still aim for two to four miles of walking per day, but I’m adding dedicated upper-body work to my routine, concentrating on four easy moves for the next two weeks: pushups for arms and chest, dips for triceps, bicep curls, and the shoulder bridge for the lower back.

Go to LiveStrong for descriptions of these exercises and many others if you are unfamiliar with them. I’ll be performing the pushups and dips using the benches in the park where I walk. The bicep curls and shoulder bridge exercises I’ll do at home. I’ll post my progress here too.

G3: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese.

More than 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats, and LDL cholesterol -- all risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

In 2007, African Americans were 50 percent less likely to engage in active physical activity as non-Hispanic whites. Deaths from heart disease and stroke are almost twice the rate for African Americans as compared to whites.

Learn more here: ttp://

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