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 50

We’ve passed the halfway point, folks, and I must say that I like what I’m seeing. I feel great, my clothes are looser than ever and my body issues are taking a back seat to sex. Yes, I said it. Sex. I’ve gotten some lately and it was grrrr-eat! But we’ll talk more about that later in the post.

I’m even seeing more of my friends checking into their Facebook pages with pictures of their healthy lunches and dinners. I’m so touched (tear!)! My 52-year-old aunt, Audrey Warren, has been rubbing it in actually, doing amazing things with chicken and angel hair pasta (showoff!) and putting on a dazzling display with a tomato, cucumber and shrimp salad.

She joked that the salad would have gone down better with a couple pounds of fried bacon, but, hey, you can’t have it all. She even went on a six-mile bike ride yesterday. I’m so proud!

But let’s get back to the “S” word – sex.

A little background: I’m a 41-year-old divorcee who, until a few months ago, hadn’t dated in several years. I lost all my confidence and mojo after my divorce and really wanted my head to be on straight before I ventured back into the fray of dating. And good thing, too, because it’s a jungle out there, folks. But I met a really cute guy recently who wasn’t a serial killer and we had a couple of very good dates. Very good. Let me elaborate.

All the years I was “getting my head together” I had an overarching fear of intimacy due to my weight. I’d think to myself, if I can barely stand to look at me, what guy is going to want to? But a funny thing happened on the way to healthier dietary choices and more exercise. I started to feel better about myself. And for once, my hormones started working in my favor.

The next thing I knew, I was like a seventeen-year-old boy at a girls’ cheerleading camp. If I wasn’t thinking about sex, I was talking about it or reading about it. Bam! Cue the clip of Dr. Frankenstein because Nicole is ALIVE!

So fast forward to the really cute guy. A lady doesn’t kiss and tell, but I’m not sure I’m a lady, so I will confidently say that this brother was not disappointed. And I left the dates feeling like Julius Caesar. Veni, Vidi, Vici. Twice.

What does this have to do with Mission: Incredible ? Just this: while on these dates, the last thing on my mind was how I looked out of my clothes. I was confident, sophisticated, funny, gorgeous and totally in the moment. And if that’s not a ringing endorsement for pursuing a healthy lifestyle, I don’t know what is.

Culture, life events and family expectations, among other things, create so much pressure for us to look a certain way in order to feel “happy.” It’s just overwhelming.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health:

“The average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 117 pounds. All too often, society associates being "thin," with "hard-working, beautiful, strong and self-disciplined." On the other hand, being "fat" is associated with being "lazy, ugly, weak and lacking will-power." Because of these harsh critiques, rarely are women completely satisfied with their image. As a result, they often feel great anxiety and pressure to achieve and/or maintain an imaginary appearance.”

This way of thinking has applied to me for most of my life, and it has been the cause of a great deal of emotional pain. I avoided dating for a long time because of it. I was making a choice that severely impacted my quality of life. Fortunately, I realized that I could change the way I felt by changing the way I thought, and Mission: Incredible has been my small way of helping myself – and hopefully others – institute small changes that make a big difference.

Making healthier choices is a calorie game, an exercise game and, most important, a mind game. Overcoming emotional eating, bingeing, unrealistic expectations, temptations and all-or-nothing thinking is HARD. But we can do it. It’s not about perfection. It’s about trending in the right direction, having a plan and having the flexibility to do what works and dump what doesn’t.

Here is my check-in:

Day 50

G1: Since I’m writing this post on the same day as the check-in, my G1 will reflect my projected meals for lunch and dinner. I promise that I’ll eat what I say I’ll eat and not go behind your backs and have a cheeseburger from Juicy Lucy’s on Carrollton Avenue.

Breakfast (9:00 a.m.) – one 8 oz. glass of calcium fortified orange juice (0g fat/110 cals).

Lunch (1:00 p.m.) – one cup of dry Fiber One honey clusters cereal (1.5 g fat/160 cals); two grilled salmon sushi rolls with wasabi and soy sauce (12g fat/300 cals); water.

Snack (4:30 p.m.) - three satsumas (0g fat/120 cals); water.

Dinner (8:00 p.m.) – one grilled tilapia filet (2g fat/150 cals); one rotisserie chicken breast (8g fat/200 cals); one cup of Campbell’s pork and beans (3g fat/280 cals); one cup of canned spinach (0g fat/40 cals); water.

I project the total for the day at 26.5 grams of fat and 1360 calories.

G2: I’ve got a six mile walk planned for this evening with a friend.

G3: I’ve got a product endorsement for you guys. If you think fiber has to taste like cardboard, and feel like cardboard going down, think again. Fiber One honey clusters cereal is the real deal. It’s sweet, crunchy and tastes great. It also provides half of the fiber you need for the whole day, a full 13 grams of it. I love it as a breakfast cereal, but I also eat it dry as a crunchy snack instead of potato chips. Good stuff. And the commercials are hilarious.

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