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5-Pound Challenge– Back by Popular Demand!

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During a recent trip to the beach, I had cause to don my bathing suit (a rarity for horse us trainers—our white legs and farmer’s tans are downright embarrassing), which led me to a renewed commitment to shed a few more pounds. After a brief mention of it on FaceBook, I was inspired by your copious and hilarious comments and I think it is definitely time to resurrect the Five Pound Challenge. Here’s how it works…

A year ago or so, my friends Lucy and Cheryl and I decided to challenge each other to each lose five pounds. We started with a ceremonious weigh-in, which gave us our start weight and we each came up with a reward that we would treat ourselves to once the weight was lost. We also started exercising together and sharing ideas for weight loss and cheering each other on. The support we had for each other and the friendly competition the challenge inspired made it pretty easy. Within a few weeks we had each met our goal and so we started on the second five pounds. I wrote about it on my blog back then and was overwhelmed with the touching and funny stories I got in response and the number of people that joined us in the challenge. We talked about techniques, rewards and heard some inspiring stories from people that had lost a hundred pounds or more.

Although I have managed to keep the original five pounds off, that second five pounds has come and gone at least a dozen times and I am currently in need of the Challenge. With summer just around the corner and some beach and boating trips in the works, I am renewing my commitment, along with Lucy and Cheryl—and anyone else that wants to join us!

I have a few new ideas to make the 5# challenge even better:

  • DO LESS.
  • DO MORE.

Doing less: Lucy and Cheryl and I decided that there is at least one thing, and maybe two or three that we can easily eat or drink less of during this challenge. I am not a big fan of the total deprivation diets. In the end, I find that to go without and to deprive myself leads to more bingeing and less healthy habits. Does it work for you? I am a believer in moderation in all things. So, I am just looking to cut out a few little things—no more buttered toast in the mornings (it’s not so much the toast as the butter I need to give up; Cheryl says I could eat unbuttered toast but, really, what’s the point? The toast is just a vehicle for the butter and it’s the fat calories that kill you), no more cream in my coffee (I will use 2% milk or none at all) and I will cut my adult beverage consumption by 30% (gotta have some fun!). What small things can you cut from your regular diet that will help with the challenge?

Doing more: My latest trend in exercising has been to try and do more and more of it until I find the level of exercise that allows me to eat and drink whatever I like. So far, there are not enough hours in the day to make up for my appetite of all things tasty. Of all the successful weight-loss trends in the last century, it always boils down to a simple equation: calories in/calories out. If I had all day to exercise, I might be able to keep the equation working in my favor but I don’t—I do have to work for a living. But, I am vowing to do just a little more exercising and specifically more upper body workout, in addition to the lower body/aerobic focus I have now. Also, I know there must be ways to increase exercise just in my daily routine—like taking the stairs, walking instead of driving, raking the yard, pulling weeds. Any ideas?

Think reward! Although losing weight becomes its own reward, I think it is good to indulge yourself a little and reward yourself at certain milestones. Last time my reward was to buy expensive underwear; Cheryl got a massage. It has to be something you wouldn’t normally do for yourself—not necessarily anything big or expensive but something self-indulgent. Although I am still mulling it over in my mind, I am leaning toward getting my truck detailed. Or maybe buying some potted flowers for the patio (they look so much better than when I put the pots together). I guess everyone is different in what constitutes indulgence. What will be your treat?

Involve you horse: Through the decades, horses have become just as obese as Americans and it is just as detrimental to their health and mortality. Maybe your horse could join you in the challenge? Of course, he’d have to lose more than 5# for it to be much of a challenge, but why not extend this health kick to your horse? As Lucy is fond of saying, if someone would just lock us in a stall and cut our rations in half, weight loss would be easy! But maybe you need to cut back on the sugary treats you give; change from alfalfa to grass; cut back a little on the portions. My horse Dually is not the type to need to lose weight; we worry more about keeping it on him, but I can still involve him in my challenge and he could be a little more fit. Your horse can be a part of your weight loss challenge and a definite part of #2—do more. Ride longer; ride one more day a week; take your horse on a run/walk; ride for five minutes each time at the posting trot without stirrups; curry him twice as long; scrub the inside of his stall. There has to be something you can do with your horse that is good for both him and you and that will get you more exercise and in better shape. What can you do? Please share your ideas with us.

I am committed to this challenge, how about you? Enlist your friends. Heck, last time my husband even joined us in the challenge (although I have to admit he is much more disciplined about dieting than I am—but I am more disciplined about working out)! If you don’t have a nearby friend to enlist, find one online—here, in the comment section or on my FaceBook page where we’re encouraging all to keep one another motivated:

You can join Lucy and Cheryl and me—just click.

Enjoy the ride,


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  1. I’m in – but need to enroll twice so I will lose 10 pounds!

  2. Hi Julie. I’m in on the challenge. I just read a book “This is Why You’re Fat”(Jackie Warner). The section on organs was compelling. I, too, was looking for ideas to exercise with my horses. I have dogs and when we hike with the dogs, we each take a horse. Leading a horse is just as much fun as riding them. Plus I can train the dogs to leave the horses alone. LU, Jayne Cascarelli

  3. Hi Julie! Love your idea of a FB weight loss challenge that involves your horse. I’ll post a link on my page… and yes, I know what you mean about that farmer’s tan. Down right embarrassing to go to the Springs! Hope you’re having a super Summer…

    Petra Christensen
    Parelli 1Star Junior Instructor

  4. I would like to enlist in the challenge.5 pounds in 3 weeks. Celia,

  5. Hmmmmm, I can be in on this one too. It’s my walking that will need to be upped—get it back on a much more regular schedule this summer, yoga increased–after each walk, back to isolation exercises–my sister taught me to pick 2 exercises that would take no more than 2 minutes each, for 2 different target areas, & do them 6 days a week for 60 days. 6-8 glasses of water too. no more food after 6:30/7:00pm. I already eat really different, and selectively, but I could lessen the volume of dark chocolate.

    OMGOSH, I just wrote all that down…better get started….Good luck everyone!! 🙂

  6. Im in but want to lose more than 5!

  7. I’m in again! I failed miserably last time, but not this time. I’m planning to spend more time up on Estes and scoop as much poop as the livery will let me. I once did the calculations and found that when I was a full time wrangler, no matter what I ate, I was still at a 2,000 calorie deficit per day. No wonder I felt like the weight just melted away!

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