Challenge Yourself Blog: Teri Davis

Self dieter Teri Davis, 49, from Gahanna, Ohio, is married and has two kids, both of whom moved out of state this past year. She and her husband are now empty-nesters and ready to live a more active life. Teri is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 195 pounds. Her "girls" at home are now her two giant dogs -- both weigh more than 100 pounds Teri wants more energy to keep up with them, too. This is her blog.

Click here to meet all three Self dieters. For daily diet and exercise tips visit

Eight Days to Go. Just when I needed you most ...

Yesterday was one of those days, by the time I got home I just wanted to lie on the couch and watch TV. I checked the mailbox as soon as I got home and was thrilled to have received the June issue of Self. As I perused the pages (lying on the couch watching TV), I stumbled upon the Pilates work out. After some self-reflection I decided to get up off the couch and give the workout a try. All of the exercises required a small exercise ball; I found one of Maggie's old basketballs and went to work. The whole group of Pilates only took about 20 minutes and I had enough energy afterward to carry on a decent conversation, fix a great dinner and clean up the kitchen! Moral of the story: Give exercise a try when you just want to flake can always get back on the couch.

The Countdown -- Nine Days

This weekend was tough. I completed the Race for the Cure on Saturday morning. Over 37,000 racers showed up. It was an amazing show of support to finding a cure for breast cancer. I ran in memory of my aunt and in honor of four courageous survivors. Those were the people that got me through the race. I was exhausted when I got home on Saturday. I spent the rest of the weekend watching my husband work on the cottages at the lake (I pretended to watch while reading a great book). I took Rosey for a leisurely 2 mile walk on Sunday morning. After that, Tim surprised me with a picnic lunch on the dock, Sunday afternoon ... "Lee's famous fried chicken"!

I haven't had fried chicken since 2006. I was afraid that if I took one bite I was going to eat every piece. This was not something I wanted to eat a week before the big day. On the other hand, it was a little romantic, a traditional picnic, on our very own dock. The sun was shining, all was right with the world. I decided I could do it, I could eat one piece of fried chicken, skin removed, green beans and a small portion of mashed potatoes. I ate two small pieces of chicken, most of the skin was removed, green beans and a small portion of mashed potatoes with an even smaller amount of gravy and ½ of a biscuit. It was a glorious day and I didn't totally ruin my diet. More importantly though, I didn't eat everything in sight because of a little deviation.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame!

In two short weeks my celebrity status with "Good Morning America" will end. It is hard to believe that the challenge is coming to a close. The past three months have truly been life changing. I cannot believe I have followed a diet plan and worked out regularly for three months. "Self" and "Good Morning America" have changed my life. I look forward to exercising and feel cheated if everyday life gets in the way! I don't even consider myself "on a diet" anymore. I have changed my eating habits to a healthy diet. Combining that healthy diet with exercise is decreasing my weight.

Once I get to an appropriate weight I will adjust the caloric intake (not the healthy diet), and continue the exercise to maintain the weight. I'm getting off the yo-yo diet circuit. For me, the Self Challenge is not just a diet to use a few months of the year to get ready for bathing suit season. It has given me a new energy and increased my self-esteem. Looking better in my clothes is now just a bonus.

Don't waste the health you've been blessed with!

I got to see a lot of old friends and make some new ones last weekend. One of my very best friends suffers from heart disease. We almost lost her a few years ago when she had open heart surgery. We have been friends for about 20 years, our girls grew up together. The heart damage my friend suffered prevents her from doing all of the things we used to do. We spent some time this weekend talking about the future. She is happy to see the beginning of every day and seems to be at peace with the reality of her condition and the fact that her heart is not going to let her realize all of her dreams. Our lives and habits have been very similar, but I still wonder why this didn't happen to me. I am not going to waste the good health I have been blessed with. I am going to make the most of it...

Flirting with the 160s

I'm still flirting with the 160s. My last weigh-in, I was 171. My goal is to be at 168 by the 30th. I've developed the top ten ways to get to 168 for my last hurrah on GMA:

10. Be prepared. Never leave home without something nutritious in my purse.
09. Keep things interesting. This is the plan for my week: Susan Komen, Race for the Cure, 5K on Saturday, trainer Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, puppy park to run with the dogs, Pet 5K next Saturday, boating and cottage remodeling in between.
08. Plan ahead. It is much easier to get up early and work out if my clothes are ready and breakfast is planned. 07. Try something new. I'm going to take a structured exercise class during the next few weeks.
06. Six small meals a day. First meal as soon as I get up in the morning to get the metabolism going.
05. Get rid of all of my baggy pants. I swear I eat more when I wear them.
04. Eat something in the car on my way home from work. The time of day when I am most likely to cheat is when I get home from work (I identified this habit utilizing the food diary). I am going to make sure I have a healthy snack in my car so I can satisfy this craving without eating the whole fridge once I get home.
03. Document everything I eat in my food diary. Daily countdown blog.
02. Be social, the more people I have supporting me the more accountable I am.

Week 10

I did it -- you can, too!

I finished my second half-marathon on Sunday. It was definitely one of the hardest physical activities I have ever done. The elation I felt at the finish line rose above the pain. The sense of accomplishment at the end of the race is a great feeling. Honestly there was a time during this race when I did not think I was going to be able to finish. I started to have foot cramps at about mile four. Mile six found me sitting on the curb rubbing the bottom of my feet and massaging my toes. After the 3 ½ mile climb at mile nine, I was beginning to think it wasn't meant to be, both of my feet felt like they were in knots.

It was almost to mile 10 when I heard someone calling my name. I initially thought I was hallucinating, but Connie and Tom (my son's girlfriend's parent) were standing in the street with a great sign encouraging me. It was just what I needed. I picked up the pace and made up my mind -- THIS RACE WAS NOT GOING TO BEAT ME! I had to stop again at mile 11 to massage the bottom of my feet but I made it! I will definitely do the pig again next year and am considering the Columbus Half-Marathon in October.

New weight 173, I FEEL GOOD!

A funny thing happened on the way to the marathon. I was really excited about my dinner the night before. I planned to "carbo-up" eat a lot of pasta maybe even have some desert. We went to an Italian restaurant; I studied the menu and ordered a grilled chicken breast, asparagus and cauliflower potatoes. I did splurge a little with a bedtime snack of M&M's and almonds. I really feel like I have turned a corner -- I want to eat healthy. I think I finally realize I feel better when I eat right and making good choices is becoming more natural then making bad choices. It is a great feeling.

Every day workouts, good morning, Mary Sunshine!

I have been getting up at 4:30 a.m. four times a week to make sure I get my strengthening workout in. I really didn't think this practice was going to last but I thought I would try it because some days I have no idea when I'm going to get home from the office. Well, it has been almost three weeks and I haven't missed a day. The Self Challenge exercises are getting easier for me and I am doing 3 to 4 sets of each one. It really is a great way to start the morning. The early morning exercise gives me more energy and I have more time for family and friends after work.

Week 9

April 23, 2007 will definitely be listed in my book of life as an exceptionally happy day. I had a great time with all of the "GMA" and Self staff. I think what made the biggest impression was how committed Lucy Danziger is; she really wants to help women through her magazine -- SHE WALKS THE WALK! She praised my accomplishments, she gave me some insight on what I could do better and what I really needed to work on and she listened to what I had to say.

Sam is great, I don't know how he did it, but I actually felt comfortable on national TV during the live feed, (I thought I was going to throw up before they got there!), Anthony and Liz had everything taken care of before anyone even asked for it, both of them were like old friends before I even met them. I feel so lucky to have been offered this opportunity! As always special thanks goes to my husband, kids, parents, all of my sisters, nieces and nephews, no matter what I do I always have a built in support system.

Meredith, my daughter, got here early on Sunday to help me through pre-taping jitters, she was also here on Sunday when I decided I hadn't picked out the right clothes, we immediately went shopping and took care of all of that unnecessary stress. Just the presence of Marilyn and Heather (part of our great PR team at Lifeline of Ohio) helped me relax and I know how busy they are this month at the office, I really appreciate them taking the time to come to the gym and support me.

During the broadcast Sam asked me how I thought I was doing, my response was I thing I'm doing great because I am still doing. One of the problems I've had in the past was giving up after a few weeks or a month. The longest I have ever stuck to a plan in the past was about four weeks.

I am starting my 9th week on the Self Challenge and am still enthusiastic, not even a little bored, the magazine keeps the diet and workouts fresh. I look forward to the new plans every month. Another contributing factor to my current success is the ease of the diet and exercise program. IT IS DOABLE! The food is plentiful, not unusual and not expensive. You can do all of the exercise at home by yourself or with a friend. You just have to get off the couch.

Many of my friends complain that their best years are gone, their lives are half over, they're stuck doing the same old thing every day. I say "B.S.", this is a new adventure in my life, I have a little more time then I did when my kids were at home, a little more money, and a lot more common sense. When I decided to do the challenge on January 1 what I didn't have was much energy or confidence in changing how I looked. I thought of 50 as something happening to me, a milestone marking the downward trend of my life. I thought that weighing 200 pounds was an impossible hole to dig myself out of.

Committing to make 50 a true beginning and not the beginning of the end required me to get off the couch, I had to tear up the list of "must watch" evening television programs that I had been collecting over the last year, I had to exert myself. The challenge gave me some guidelines. I made it my own. Once I got off the couch I started to feel better immediately.

The results speak for themselves; I'm happier, my family can see a difference, I laugh more and am quicker to initiate activities. At work I work smarter not longer -- I want to get out of the office and be active. I used to work frequent 16 hour days, not necessarily because I had to but because I really didn't have that much to look forward to once I got home. I sleep better but fewer hours now, and I pop out of bed ready to make a difference, not complaining about how tired I am.

I look forward to exercising. After the taping on Monday I went home cleaned the house a bit and basked in my 60 seconds of fame, and kind of took the rest of the day off. By 9 p.m. that night I was really wishing I had worked out and was anxious to get up at 5 a.m. to start strengthening at 6 a.m. When I look in the mirror, I'm happy. I think about what I'm going to wear the night before and actually get excited. Tomorrow I am wearing a skirt to work for the first time in over a year, and I know I will look good.

My hope is that like Lucy I can WALK THE WALK and help other women approaching their 50th birthday realize that this is just the beginning -- we can BE FABULOUS AFTER 50!

FYI -- My run on Saturday was another personal best, I came in under 40 minutes! My next organized run is on May 6 in Cincinnati, "The Flying Pig." I am doing the 1/2 marathon. I just want to beat my time from last year!

FYI -- I swear a surgeon was hitting on me yesterday. I haven't felt that way in 10 years!

Week 7: Inspiration and Opportunity

April is Donate Life Month. One of Lifeline of Ohio's busiest and most stressful months and I've been whining. On top of all of my usual responsibilities, the office is very busy with events and I always feel increased pressure in April.

Yesterday was a particularly busy day, my back hurt and I have a cold. I needed to go to the doctor, work out with the trainer, and attend a work event after office hours. I started my day at 5 a.m. and was able to schedule everything in, but by the end of the day I was definitely not my energetic self! Honestly, I was not looking forward to staying at the office for what was usually my favorite Lifeline of Ohio event of the year, the candlelight vigil.

Volunteers started to arrive, and I found myself in the restroom with a 5-year-old who had to "pee so bad she was going to pee her pants outside." Now this is no ordinary 5-year-old, in addition to being adorable, smart, and ornery she has lived through numerous heart surgeries and finally a heart transplant during her brief time on this Earth. Seeing her run into that bathroom gave me goosebumps.

When I left the restroom, I ran into a family wearing sweatshirts asking families to talk to their children about guns. Their son died because of a hand gun accident. Not only did they share the gift of life by facilitating organ donation, they were working hard to spread the word about the importance of gun safety.

Suddenly I was surrounded by heroes. The candlelight vigil serves as a visual testament to the power of the lives that are touched by donation and transplantation. A candle is lit for each of the 650 individuals in central Ohio awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. The ceremony provides hope for more than 94,000 people waiting for an organ. I got to talk to a young mother who is currently in liver failure awaiting a liver transplant. She gets up every morning hoping to get the call that will allow her to raise her 3- and 5-year-old. I spoke to a young couple who had to say good-bye to their little boy when he died waiting for a heart transplant and the call never came. This couple is not bitter -- they volunteer at Lifeline to raise awareness about the need for organ donation.

The vigil remembers the donors and the families who facilitated donation at a terrible time in their lives. A mother who lost her daughter just days before her high school graduation and facilitated the donation of seven life saving organs, asked me about my children and how I was doing with them both out of the house. The vigil is a celebration for all transplant recipients; it reminds us that without the generosity of the donors and the families we would not get to know that 5-year-old who had to pee, or the little one playing in the parking lot who recently received a heart transplant. These two children may find a cure for cancer.

These people are my heroes, my inspiration. My back doesn't hurt anymore and my cold is resolving. I can't believe how lucky I am -- Self and GMA have given me a great opportunity to get myself back in shape, and if it's meant to be someday (not for a very long time) my organs are going to ready to be recycled!

April 17 -- The Season Begins

"The Season" has officially started. The season is the time of year when we receive the most invitations. Weddings, graduations, and sporting events always seem to consume the weekends in the spring. We started the season this weekend with a trip to Charlottesville for rugby finals. It was a great weekend, our son played, the team won (Virginia Rugby Club), and it looks like we're going to get home safe!

Unfortunately it was a very difficult weekend to diet. I thought it would be easy, even went to the grocery when we got there on Friday and bought fruit to stock the fridge for snacks, (my son's diet appears to consist of meat, beer and hummus). My problems started on the way to Virginia when we stopped at a diner for dinner. I ordered a salad with low fat ranch dressing on the side, our waitress was a little surly (they were getting ready to close), so when she brought me regular ranch I just shut up and ate it. Friday for lunch in downtown Charlottesville I ordered what I thought was a grilled chicken salad...what I got was chicken salad. Again I just ate it. Friday night we went to an amazing South African restaurant, "The Shebeen." I made decent choices there, but unfortunately, Tim ordered the shepherd's pie and I couldn't keep my fork out of it.

Saturday started with good intentions, but if any of you have ever been at a rugby game, you know about the celebrations afterward. So today I start anew -- with my live appearance on "Good Morning America" one week away, I am going to need A LOT of support. During the next month we have weddings and graduations to attend; I know I need a plan to prevent regrets. Some of my ideas: always carry something to eat and drink in my purse, ask more questions about the menu in restaurant, and don't go anywhere hungry! Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Aprill 11 -- New Size, New Shoes, New Attitude

Easter had me a little worried, being from a very large traditional Catholic family all holidays come with a lot of family and a lot of food! This Easter was no exception, I was responsible for Easter Saturday dinner. I made a good choice with a tapas menu -- we had lamb chops (appetizer size), steak strips, brushetta and whole wheat bread, scallops, spinach punjab-brown rice and garbanzo beans, shrimp cocktail, whole wheat pasta and asparagus salad, berries and low-fat whipped cream. I was able to eat a small portion of everything and everyone loved the menu.

Brunch on Easter Sunday was not quite as easy -- I don't think there was a food item at brunch that didn't consist of mayo, cheese, sugar, or sausage! Thank goodness I came prepared -- I ate a bowl of oatmeal before I came to brunch and filled up on fresh fruit. Before you start to think I got through Easter without eating any candy let me tell you why there was no Easter candy in the baskets this year. The Easter bunny still visits our house and probably always will (this year Easter baskets came with iPods, jewelry and designer purses -- definitely guilt-ridden overcompensation), but the Easter bunny ate the one bag of candy that had been set aside for these baskets after a very bad day at work!

As we close in on the 6th week of the challenge, I am getting a little anxious. My weight loss is slowing down, so I am looking to other triggers that mark success. I AM STRONGER. I cannot believe how much the trainer has helped. When I started the challenge I could not do one push up, now I can do 15 on a bad day. I've always walked long distances, but I never went over a pace of about 4, now I can do 1-2 minute intervals at a pace of 5-6! I feel better, almost everyone at the office has been sick with the cold or flu; I have survived the season without a cold. I'm down a size. When I started the challenge I was squeezing into size 14 (probably should have been in a 16). On Tuesday I walked into a department store and tried on a size 12 suit, and IT FIT! My shoe size has dropped by a half size.

Even with all of the above positives I still want to rev up the weight loss, so I am once again committing to logging every morsel of food that goes in my mouth in the Self Diet Club Tool and stepping up my cardio workouts. I'm going to have to work really hard to get my kayak or canoe at the end of the month.

The very best part of the challenge is I feel better about my body, I feel good in my own skin. I like to try on clothes again and I think I look good when I look in the mirror! There is not a piece of candy in the world that can make me feel that good.

Teri's Top Ten Tips

1. At the end of every day think about all of your successes -- how you walked away from a dessert or worked hard at cardio or strengthening, all the things you did today that you were not doing before the challenge.

2. If it goes in your mouth put it on paper! The easiest tool for me is the one located on the Self Web site in the diet club. You document what you eat and the website automatically measures vitamins, minerals, calories and divides fat protein and carbs. It also counts your calories down so you can see how many you have left for the day.

3. Get rid of baggy pants. I just went down a size. I'm used to my pants fitting a little tight so when my pants started to "sag," I found myself eating just a little bit more. Pants that fit a little tight are a great reminder when you've had too much lunch.

4. Vary your workouts; walking or running the same path all the time can get a little boring. We played kickball at a family gathering (I have a large, competitive family) -- it was a great workout. We always have a volleyball net set up for family functions, and for the very brave the trampoline.

5. Invest in a good set of non-stick cookware. I use Calphalon and I don't have to add a lot of grease or oils that add more calories.

6. Go to markets or grocery stores that have good produce -- Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are two of my favorites. It's worth a few dollars more to have a crisp, juicy apple or ripe strawberries in the fridge. Nothing tastes as good as fresh asparagus, and it's a natural diuretic.

7. Have foods in the house that will satisfy a craving without blowing the diet. Chocolate meringues from Trader Joe's help me get through a cookie crave. I have every sugar- fat-free Popsicle, fudge bar, ice cream sandwich ever made stocked in my freezer because I am an ice cream addict and the temptation to drive to Graeter's ice cream store is too much if I can't reach into the freezer and pull something out.

8. GET A TRAINER ... I have reformed. I love the trainer.

9. Reward yourself; I am a great believer in positive reinforcement. I set goals -- small and large, e.g. I will do 35 minutes of cardio 4 times this week instead of 30 minutes 3 times; reward (besides the benefits of the exercise): a new bath salt or bubble bath. I will lose 12 pounds by the end of the month; reward (besides going to a new size and getting to buy new clothes): a new pink bicycle to add variety to my workout. This month's goal is 12 pounds; the reward is a kayak or canoe for the lake, big enough for Rosey or Maggie to accompany me.

10. Be innovative, exercise wherever you can. Take a "fit break" instead of a smoke break. We have smuggled exercise equipment into our office to enhance our "fit breaks." We even found a portable bicycle that fits under the desk!

April 1 -- A No-Good, Horrible Bad Day With a Happy Ending

The second month of the challenge was starting off great. I got my new bike. I've been cooking more; spicing up my diet with month two recipes -- Calphalon nonstick cookware is great to decrease the fat usage. I'm mixing up my cardio with group walk-runs after work and my trainer Danny has been working me just to the brink of pain.

UNTIL TODAY, first thing this morning while fighting rush hour traffic I got a very unpleasant phone call. By the time I got to the office I was so stressed that all I could think of was a hot fudge sundae (I know it was only 8 a.m., but I'm an old night-shift nurse I can eat anything at anytime), a cigarette (I quit smoking at the end of last year but every once in awhile I still get the urge), or a mimosa. Since I was at the office, the cigarette and mimosa were absolutely out of the question, and I couldn't find any ice cream in the freezer (I'm not going to lie -- I looked).

I made my oatmeal, added once piece of Rolo candy (the candy lady was out of Hershey's kisses; this day was definitely in the toilet), and logged on my computer. The first reminder on my calendar was to do six sets of 10 leg lifts. Alicia, our administrative assistant, has sent me invitations to do desk side exercises every hour, a friendly competition. My first thought was to toss the computer out the window, but instead I found myself doing the leg lifts, and the day seemed a little brighter after completing a set of leg lifts at the office before 8 a.m. The rest of the work day was without incident.

I left the office a little early, arriving to train with Danny early. Danny was with another appointment so after I finished my warm-up another trainer came over and asked if I would mind if he started my session. He looked nice enough so I said sure. WITHIN 5 MINUTES I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE.

Unfortunately Danny's appointment went a little long, and I continued to work with the new trainer. I can't remember his name (probably because subconsciously I had renamed him Satan), but he actually had me hopping -- 50-year-old women are not supposed to hop. There should be a law against 50-year-old women hopping! I made it through the workout; when it was over I was so sweaty I looked like I had just gotten out of the shower.

"Diablo" high-fived me and told me I had done a great job. I crawled to my car, drank 2 liters of water and turned the air conditioner on full-blast, and within 5 minutes I FELT GREAT. I really felt like I had accomplished something. I did things in that workout that I knew I could NOT do, things if given the choice I would have said NO WAY. I actually mixed squats with jumping! When I got home Maggie (English Mastiff who would rather eat an apple turnover then take a walk) and I took a long walk and had a long talk about how she, too, was going to get into shape.

Who would have thought a hard workout could take the place of nicotine, alcohol, chocolate and ice cream?

March 29 -- A New Bike

My goal for the beginning of month 2 was a 12-pound weight loss. Since I met my goal, I treated myself to a brand-new pink bicycle (my kids are going to disown me). The bike is going to give me some more variety in my workout and it's FUN. All of my neighbors came outside tonight to take a look at my new pink bike, just like we were kids again. I rode for 20 minutes and it felt great.

Month 2

Weight at Start of Challenge: 195 pounds

End of Week 4: 181 pounds

Waist Size Then: 35 inches

Waist Size Now: 35 inches

Hip Size Then: 45 inches

Hip Size Now: 42 inches

Left Thigh Then: 26 inches

Left Thigh Now: 24 inches

Right Thigh Then: 26 inches

Right Thigh Now: 24 inches

Run a mile then: 15 minutes

Run a mile now: 13 minutes

The numbers don't lie! I've lost 14 pounds and over 7 inches. Since I didn't start seeing my trainer until last week, I think I'll see an even bigger loss of inches next month.

What's really important is how good I feel -- it must be a combination of eating right and the exercise. I have more energy and I'm sleeping better at night. The support I'm getting from friends, family and business associates is phenomenal, I really couldn't do it without them.

The exercise is getting easier and easier. Last Thursday, I was out on a case and there was no way I could fit a work-out in, and I really missed it. Last night on the treadmill I was thinking about all of the almost 50-year-olds that want to be fit at 50 but maybe need a little encouragement. If everyone who is doing the challenge shared their Self Magazine with someone they know who is frustrated with their weight or endurance and offered some encouragement, we could double the number of people working to get fit and healthy.

This week I commit to walking over to my mother-in-law's with this month's issue of Self Magazine and a set of three pound weights to help her get off the couch. I challenge everyone who is reading this blog to reach out to someone they know.

If you have been reading my blog you know how much I love lists. I have compiled a list of the items I would give away if I was rich and famous and had my own talk show with a studio audience. All of the items have made getting fit by 50 a little easier.

Teri's Top Ten Tools for Getting Fit at 50:

10. Treadmill: Rain or shine the treadmill is always upstairs just waiting to challenge me.

9. MP3 player: I personally love my iPod but any MP3 player will do.

8. MP3 Workout Downloads: Self has a new one for month 2, don't forget to download it. I also use one from NIKE that is specifically for treadmills; it varies your speed, tells you exactly what to do -- great for anyone who has a treadmill.

7. Sports Bras: Remember I'm almost 50 and these haven't been around as long as you think. :-)

6. Nike Sports Watch: Measures your pulse while you work out, much easier than counting it yourself.

5. Exercise Ball: The dogs love it too, I've had to buy three!

4. Food Diary: You don't have to be detailed, it just holds me accountable.

3. Trainer Danny and Gold's Gym: I was skeptical, didn't really think I needed a trainer, didn't think he would make a difference. The first day I was there, he asked me to do an exercise that I had been trying to do all month. When I told him I couldn't keep my balance trying to do it, he explained all I had to do was drop my back knee. Guess what? He was right. EVERYONE NEEDS A TRAINER, it doesn't have to be one at the gym, just get someone to do the exercises with you and watch how you're doing them. I have to agree with Michelle (even though I'm almost 50 and I'm sure I'm not supposed to be looking at the guys at the gym) -- the scenery is not bad either.

3. Bottled Water: Any kind ... the bottle just makes it easier to transport and always have available.

2. Self Magazine and "Good Morning America": Especially Liz and Jonann for giving me the guidance and support for getting fit by 50.

1. My great family and the dogs! Probably wouldn't give this one to the studio audience.

March 23

It was a great "GMA" show this morning, the segment with Cindy gave me new inspiration for the next month!

I have had a great week. I'm really starting to branch out with my workouts. At work we have started a group that goes to Antrim Park two or three times a week for walking or running. I recommend this type of activity to anyone who can manage it. It gives you a chance to unwind after work and avoid rush hour traffic. It also lets you see another side of your coworkers. With our high stress and long hours we sometimes only get to see each other in stress mode. We need a little down time together to see the other side of our organization's departments. I think it is going to be great for our overall health, well being and team building. I'd really like to publicly thank Alicia, a brand new mom who is new mom who is working hard to get back to her pre-baby shape; she put the whole thing together and is instrumental in keeping it going. A bonus to this week walk-run was that I got validation, I really do walk fast and it burns ... just ask Mikey, a really fit 20-something who felt the burn when he walked fast enough to keep up with me.

I worked with the trainer this week. The good news is that I survived and will do it again tomorrow; the bad news is, why didn't I do this years ago? Danny, my trainer at Gold's Gym, is amazing. Exercise does not come easy to me. I just have never been able to really understand the pictures or the videos so I would get bored with it and stop. Danny is able to give me immediate feedback, letting me know if I'm doing the work out appropriately. He had me using 10 pound weights! I don't even pick up the 10 pound weights at home. The stretching he had me do after the work out must have worked because I really wasn't sore the next day. I'm actually looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.

March 17

When the alarm went off this morning, I just wanted to roll over and go back to bed -- the wind chill was 14°, and it was dark and snowing. I fell back to sleep but only for a few minutes. When I heard Meredith get up to start to get ready for the 5K, no way was I going to be the one to cancel.

It was cold, trying to run was brutal. During the first mile I was pretty sure I was going to die but by the time it was over I FELT GREAT! I didn't run the whole thing, I used my MP3 player to do timed walking and running intervals, but I finished with my best time ever! We celebrated with one green beer -- it was a great morning.

My weight today is down to 183, that is a 12 pound weight loss since the start of the challenge. If I can do this anyone can do it. The first time I did a 5K, I finished so late they were no longer documenting the times. My face was so red my husband thought he might have to do CPR as I crawled across the finish line. That was April of 2005. One of my sisters mentioned how glad I must be that it was over, and wasn't I glad I would never have to do that again? (You know sisters, they've always got an opinion, and I've got four of them with more then their share of opinions.) She was wrong -- I loved the feeling of accomplishment when I crossed the finish line no matter how long it took. In July of that year I attempted my first half-marathon, even talked my husband into walking it with me. I'd like to say I finished that half-marathon but I didn't. I got a foot cramp at about the 9th mile and I just couldn't keep going.

It was disappointing, but you know what, I had never walked nine miles that fast in my life, so it still was an accomplishment. Ten months later I finished the half-marathon at the Flying Pig in Cincinnati, and it was great. I know there are many almost 50-year-olds sitting at home wanting to get healthy and active again. I used to be that person. We work so hard helping our children and our husbands realize their goals that we put ours on the back burner. I've loved every minute of living life through my kids, but it's time to move on and I have to make sure the body is willing! My only disappointment today was that the average age of the female participants was probably 27. I was a little nervous about embarrassing my daughter but I sucked it up and did my best. When it was over the fat (by the end of this year I'll be able to leave that word out), almost 50-year-old lady was able to sing and do an Irish jig! So don't be afraid to crawl across a finish line, or fall over during a yoga class. If it's something you want to do it will be worth it!

March 15

Today was the Lifeline of Ohio Annual Bowling Outing. I only get a chance to bowl once a year and the outing generally starts out with pizza. This year I substituted a great salad for the pizza, carrots for the salty snacks and water for the soda. My bowling score was over 100 so the healthy eating must have improved my game and I realized that when I'm actively doing something I really don't miss the food!

Unfortunately the rest of my team did not do so well (must have been the pizza and pretzels), and the only thing we won was the coveted bottom half of the donkey trophy. Bowling may only burn 204 calories an hour but it uses muscles that are not used very often.

I have been very innovative making sure I get my chocolate fix without breaking the calorie bank. The top five ways to get enough of the chocolate food group in your diet is:

5. Altoids chocolate mints: 2 mints = 15 calories, added bonus your breath smells better

4. Chocolate meringue mini cookies, one serving is 15 cookies. Yes, I said 15 cookies and only 128 calories. I keep a few of these in a zip lock bag in my purse, it keeps me away from the vending machine at the airport. I have found these at Andersons and Trader Joe's

3. Weight Watchers Giant Chocolate fudge bars, 115 calories, added bonus 5g fiber

2. Light Chocolate Soy Milk (I especially like 8th Continent), added bonus this is really good for you.

The No. 1 way to work chocolate into your diet:

Add a Hersheys's Kiss to your oatmeal in the morning. I'm not kidding, I add 1 dark chocolate Kiss to cinnamon oatmeal -- it's a great way to start the day! Added bonus, looking forward to getting up in the morning.

Week 3

It's hard to believe week three is almost over and I'm staying true to my "fit by 50" plan. I've had several challenges during the last week.

Traveling last Wednesday thru Friday was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Fruit was plentiful at the continental breakfasts and I made good choices for lunch and dinner. I committed to doing the strengthening while traveling, I even went so far as to leave my running shoes at home so I wouldn't be tempted to jump on the treadmill.

I'd like to say my strategy worked unfortunately I found myself in Niketown buying yet another pair of running shoes in order to stay in my comfort zone on the treadmill! I still have not really mastered the strengthening exercises. When things settle down next week I am going to work with the trainer at least four days!

Over the weekend we worked on our cottages at the lake. On Saturday night I had a few glasses of wine with some old friends, and on Sunday we ate Sunday breakfast at the diner. I ORDERED CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES -- I really didn't mean to order them, it just slipped out of my mouth (maybe long term effects of the wine), but boy was it good.

Immediately after consuming the second pancake I was overcome with guilt (notice that didn't happen until I ate the pancakes)! I quickly reverted to my old habits, trying to decide how I was going to make up for eating the pancakes. If the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior expecting different results I definitely am certifiable!

The good news is I stopped myself, I figured out how many calories were in those delicious pancakes. I made good choices the rest of the day and worked really hard painting the cottage.

Come Monday, my results were good, after two weeks of a healthier diet and more exercise I feel better, my clothes are beginning to loosen and the scale tells me I have lost nine pounds! The Saint Patrick's Day 5K is Saturday -- my plan is to run so fast, I'm too tired for any green beer.

I am a list maker so at the beginning of this week I made two lists: what is working and old habits to avoid...trying to kick the insanity.

What Works:

Eating regularly

Obsessively setting aside time to exercise

Spending more money at the market for fresh produce

Focusing on how good I'm looking

Continuing to make good choices after I've given myself a treat

Grocery shopping for work once a week

Old Habits to Avoid:

Skipping breakfast and lunch in order to eat all night

Obsessively making excuses for not having time to exercise

Buying the cheap processed snack foods

Focusing on how much weight I have to lose

Thinking the day is ruined and I might as well start over tomorrow after cheating

Eating out of the vending machine or fast food because I have no good choices at work

Beginning of Week 2

I feel like a celebrity! On Saturday our local paper published a few lines about my participation in the Self Challenge. On top of that, "Good Morning America" ran a segment on the the Challenge this Monday.

Monday morning my co-workers were ready, and immediately after report everyone gathered to watch my debut. Discussion included how much I weighed, my before picture, why I was doing this and how brave I am. Twice during the telecast I started to leave the room, but I got 22 phone calls immediately following the broadcast! (I have a large family.)

A checkout clerk at the grocery store on Saturday knew me from around town and remembered seeing my name in the paper and asked me if I really wanted to purchase the ice cream in my cart. (The ice cream was for my husband and son).

I questioned my sanity more than once on Monday. When someone asked me how I could share my weight with everyone, I reminded her it wasn't about the number. I am not invisible, I don't look or act any different once someone learns how many pounds I weigh. More importantly, I really meant it.

Until I started the Challenge, my husband had not known my correct weight since my 26 -ear-old daughter was born. I don't think my driver's license has ever reflected an accurate weight. I have to admit Tim was a little surprised with the number, but he still loves me just the same!

What I'm trying to get at is that the numbers aren't really that important. We are not doing ourselves or our daughters any favors when we live by the scale. I'm doing this to BE ME! I need to get strong and healthy again so I can do all the things that make me happy -- because when mama's happy everybody's happy.

Day 5: Out to Eat

I can't believe it is Day 5 of the diet, today I faced my toughest challenge -- going out to eat. My husband's uncle died and we were going to the funeral home, seeing family members that we only seem to see at funerals and then out to dinner.

We decided on a steakhouse, which may not have been the best choice. I am a big red meat fan and am ashamed to admit I can eat an 18 ounce steak with no problem.

I prepared for the extra temptation by making sure I stuck to the diet during the day, working out a little more before we went and making sure I wasn't starving by the time we got there. The first challenge came when we arrived at the restaurant; we had to wait for the table so everyone went to the bar. I'm not a big drinker, so I was satisfied with a diet Coke.

Of course appetizers were ordered; I passed that test by talking to every one at the table, (A LOT) so I wouldn't be tempted to put food in my mouth. For the first time in my life I didn't fill up on appetizers and bread before dinner. I ordered a 7 oz. broiled filet mignon and asparagus, ate slowly and filled up on unsweetened iced tea. Guess what, I felt great after dinner and was satisfied!

I finally managed to do the strengthening exercises last night. I am not very coordinated and always have trouble figuring out exactly what the picture is trying to get me to do. The video on the Self Challenge Web site helps a lot ( The exercises look pretty easy so I really didn't expect to be as sore as I was this morning. I must have stretched muscles that haven't been used in a long time.

It may be my imagination but I'm pretty sure the suit pants I wore tonight didn't feel as tight, and I know I feel a lot better when I exercise every day. I'm not going to weigh myself until Monday.

I've signed up for the St. Patrick's Day 5K. It will be the first 5K I've done this year and I hope to beat all of my previous 5K times. I hope some of my Self Challenge Buddies will join me!

Day 3

Day 3 has come and gone, and I can't believe I haven't felt deprived of food. I'm not saying the pizza they brought in at lunch today wasn't a little tempting. All I had to think about was how awful it would be to still look like the "before pictures" at the end of the three months.

Tonight I was committed to doing the strengthening exercises, but somehow I ended up on my treadmill. (I really do love the treadmill.) You don't have to be coordinated, you don't have to think -- just listen to some music, watch TV, move your legs and arms, AND SWEAT. I can't believe I did a short interval at 6. Before tonight, I really have never been past 5.5. I did 2 miles on the treadmill then walked Rosy 1.25 miles outside.

Does anyone have a favorite treadmill mix? I promise to do the strengthening exercises tomorrow morning.

Good Luck on Day 4!

Days 1 and 2

Hi, my name is Teri Davis. I am a 49-year-old who simply cannot believe I've been around for 49 years. These last 49 years have been very busy. I managed to spend some time in the Air Force, get married, have great kids, graduate from college and work in the most rewarding career I could find: organ procurement for transplant. As you can see, I've been pretty busy.

My family has always been very active. Our lives centered on both of our children. We were busy with sports and school activities. This continued when they went away to college. As they both started college out of town playing a sport, we never missed a game. All of that ended last year. My daughter, Meredith, accepted a job promotion about 120 miles from home and my son. TJ (the baby) graduated from college and moved more than 400 miles away for a new job.

My husband and I were empty-nesters. We made lots of plans: a lake cottage to renovate, camping with our English mastiff and St. Bernard, running a marathon, learning to scuba dive. I was able to give 100 percent to a career that allows me to make a difference every day. I work in the field of organ procurement, recovering organs for transplant.

When Jan. 1, 2007, came around, I was tired. I couldn't keep up. I was tipping the scales at my highest weight ever. My four food groups consisted of chocolate, ice cream, red meat and lattes, in that order. I realized that if I wanted my golden years to be anything but tarnished, I needed to get in shape.

The day I read about the Self Challenge I knew this was the motivation I needed!!!!!! I have never been so excited to start a diet. It's Day 2 and I'm still excited. I've been able to stick to the diet and I've used the treadmill. Tomorrow I am going to do the strengthening exercises. I exercise at night, so I'm a little sore in the morning, but by the time I leave the office I am ready to go again.