Defining my new normal

Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2015 Get Fit Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook and then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 21. This week, IB checks in with Bonnie Bailey, business development, SVA, who is competing in the individual challenge.

What a crazy and rewarding 25 weeks it has been. My challenge officially started with my check-in on March 8 and ended the last week of August. Because I was super motivated, I started on my own on March 1. There are so many things I’ve learned and highlights I have to share, so let’s commence with my top 11 countdown.

11. Get started: Thank you In Business for selecting me to participate in this challenge. I’ve tried many times to get motivated, but this was just what I needed. A highly visible challenge with the support of Harbor Athletic Club, and Jamie, my trainer.

10. Support: My friends, family, and work comrades were super supportive and always happy to give me a pat on the back or a word of encouragement. That big network of support was key in my success. My husband easily adjusted to new eating habits and significantly reduced his sweet tooth cravings to support me. Our weekends and vacations are now focused on active endeavors rather than passive couch sitting.

9. Soda and meals: Eating healthy isn’t all that hard if you really try. Each meal I consider if I really need the loaded burger and fries, or if a grilled chicken breast and some veggies would be more satisfying. And typically I find the healthy option makes me feel better inside and out. Kicking my four to five cans of Diet Pepsi habit was my biggest success.

8. Small steps: Exercise doesn’t have to be dreaded. I know I am not a health club nut who can run on a treadmill for miles and miles. I chose options that work for me, like small group classes and working out in the pool on my own.

7. Move: Walking is a good fit for me. I walk at night and on the weekends.  It clears my head, makes my dog Maxwell Lambeau very happy, and keeps my weight in check. Doing what I enjoy doesn’t make it seem like a chore.

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6. Munchies: Snacking has been my Achilles heel. Once I sit down to watch TV the snack cravings kick in. So I keep fresh veggies and hummus, Smart Pop and diet root beer on hand. I also keep my hands busy with knitting, puzzles, or playing games on my tablet. Diversions have helped me modify that bad habit.

5. Attire: Watching the discarded pile of “too big” clothes grow on my closet floor is a daily motivator. Each time I try on something that no longer fits, it joins that pile. The pile will remain as I continue to add to it as the seasons change. Every morning I am reminded to stay committed so I don’t have to choose from the floor pile again.

4. Shopping: Need I say more? I can now shop in the regular women’s section rather than the plus size and that is so much more fun!

3. Poundage: The scale is my daily friend now. When I started the challenge I had a goal in mind and my friends said make sure it is attainable so you don’t get discouraged. Well I beat my goal with 40 pounds lost during the official challenge and another 5 pounds before my check in — making my 25 week weight loss an amazing 45 pounds off!  

2. Tape measure: I’ve never really focused on inches lost, but that can be a bigger motivator than pounds. My waist is now 8 inches smaller and I’m down three pants sizes. Just for fun I tried on some of my last year fall clothes and enjoyed a moment of watching them hang off me. That was a very visually rewarding exercise for me.

1. New me: It’s really all about being healthy. I cut my triglycerides in half and reduced my cholesterol levels. I feel better, stronger, and have more energy.

The winners will be announced in October, but I consider myself a winner already. When I accepted the challenge I was first scared, then exhilarated, then motivated, and now just plain happy with my success and looking forward to defining my new normal.

Meet all of the competitors here and see who wins at the In Business Expo & Conference.

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