"Transformation is not a future event, it is a present activity!"  That Jillian Michaels quote started me on my DietBet journey.  

In April 2014 I saw Jillian's post about her DietBet Ripped in 30 challenge.  I had the DVD but had never even put it in the player.  I was a month away from my birthday and the heaviest that i had been.  I had lots of reasons/excuses why: I'm in my 40s and it is harder to lose weight, I had a year of health challenges a couple years before and the Prednisone packed on the weight, my plantar fasciitis made exercising more difficult, I had stopped my hot yoga workouts and wasn't getting the same training effect from my practice, I had ACL surgeries and arthritic knees, I have a hard time keeping the momentum going, etc. etc.  

Ready for Change: I had gone to a Naturopath a year before and was shifting to a gluten free lifestyle.  In March 2014, a friend of mine told me about a chiropractor who used the Gua Sha technique (that massages/scrapes away at scar tissue) to heal her plantar fasciitis.  I started treatment that month and after years of little relief and little help from 2 podiatrists I was finally getting results.  I looked ahead to a big birthday in 2015 and wanted to be healthier, lighter and better by then.  The April challenge came at just the right time.  I had doubts because my pattern had been fits and starts, stagnation and/or backward steps.  I'd too often take that easy slide into over eating and inactivity, but I was ready to try again.  

Daily Effort and DietBet Inspiration: Dietbet was a revelation!  That first Ripped in 30 workout was tough!  I stopped the DVD a million times but I got through it.  Every time it got a little bit better (but never easy :-) ). Several family members, friends and I had Fitbits and that daily network of encouragement was inspiring and it felt good to walk.  I converted my stationary bike from a coat rack to an exercise station.  I visited the Dietbet challenge site daily and was inspired by the other challengers and the coaching.

I won the Ripped in 30 challenge and had a gap before starting another.  I was surprised at how fast some of the weight that I lost returned.  I realized that I needed to jump back in (and overlap bets) to help me maintain focus and help make the changes become habits and a part of my lifestyle.  2 more months and 2 more successful challenges. This DietBet thing was working!  

Managable steps: I had quit my BSC gym membership in November of 2013.  I hadn't been making use of it enough to justify the expense.  I couldn't seem to find the time to get to the gym to workout. But now I was doing OK without it.  My gym was my home and the neighborhood streets so I could do it whenever I wanted.  Morning sessions of 30 minute circuit training 4-5 times a week, 15-30 min sessions on the stationary bike, walking more (10,000- 15,000 steps a day) was all adding up and paying off! One step/one healthy choice at a time!

Eat, Drink & be Skinny:  I successfully completed 2 Dietbet challenges and was about to end a 3rd when I found the Eat, Drink & be Skinny challenge.  While the other bets were very helpful and it was great to have the DietBet community support, what was missing was a DietBet coach who had a daily presence on the site with a passion and mission to help and who shares a ton of helpful tips and information!  Just what i needed to help cement the lifestyle changes!  Thank you Teresa Marie Howes! Eat, Drink & be skinny, indeed!

Not a Diet but a lifestyle:  I'm sort of allergic to the word "Diet." I didn't want a diet I wanted a life transformation - a lifestyle change.  I had been a vegetarian, then a pescatarian for years and years but a carboholic as well.  I take with me the lessons and tools from the past, like the periods of tracking my food on Loseit! and the Fitbit app.  It showed me how quickly calories add up. Going mostly gluten free, and limiting dairy & sugar was key! Planning my meals, getting the temptations out and the healthier foods in my fridge and cupboards really helps, as well as cooking more of my meals, and making a habit of bringing my food and snacks to avoid unnecessary (and often less healthy) choices.  If I have a heavier meal, an occasional night out etc. I try to balance it with an extra walk or workout - the basics of more conscious eating and watching calories in and out!

My Keys for the journey:

The Present - no matter what came before or what lies ahead, the precious present is where possibility lives, it is where transformation happens - making the effort NOW!  

Forgiving and letting go of the past - in order to live in the present i have to forgive the past. So if I have an unexpected indulgence, have spent too much time binge watching Netflix, etc., instead of letting the heaviness of any regret hold me down, I can forgive myself, get up and get moving!  It is true of so many things that can hold us back, the weight of the past can be so onerous, but if we can forgive it and let it go, we can focus on now and move forward.

Daily effort:  Moving every day!  Physical activity shakes things up and it doesn't have to be a burden.  Starting the day with exercise feels good, burns calories and gets the metabolism revving!  During the day, I can get up off my office chair or couch and jog in place for a few minutes, I can go for a walk and take in the view.  I can get on my mat and do some of my favorite yoga poses.  I can bike for 10, or 15 or 20 minutes and feel the calories burning and the energy shifting.. . movement helps shift my vision too.  I found things that I enjoy doing and that I can maintain.  

Bringing and Planning my food choices: Limiting gluten, dairy and sugar really helps.  As does cooking more of my meals, bringing my lunches and snacks, drinking lots of water (going for 1/2 my weight in ounces a day), and watching/balancing my calories in and out. 

Rest:  This is challenging for me as a night owl, but getting necessary rest is so important.  A rest day from intense activity and sufficient rest at night (maybe even a nap during the day) all helps the body and mind clear and rejuvenate!

Gratitude: Gratitude is a key to happiness!  No matter where we are in our lives, there is always something to be grateful for.  Family, Friends, shelter, nourishment, breath . . .  I try to embrace and be grateful for the gifts of each day!

NOW - putting the pieces together: I've now lost over 20% of my initial bodyweight!  I'm lighter than I've been in 14 years! Although i hope to meet my weightloss goal by November 2014, I intend to maintain this lifestyle and to keep moving forward!  There will be challenges to meet but these tools will help as the journey continues!