How The 5-Pound Challenge Works

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Good day!

Inspired by your comments, and by the response from my friends, I want to extend my five-pound challenge to everyone—at least everyone interested in getting fit and shedding a few pounds (or more). As long as dieting/exercising are approved by your physician, why not give it a try?

Getting in better shape builds your confidence—you can’t help but feel better about yourself when you workout. It feels so good when you stop! Making an effort to get in better shape is something I talk a lot about in my seminars for people that are fearful of horses and it is part of the over-all plan for building more confidence. It’s an added bonus that being in better shape makes you healthier and able to ride better. By starting on a fitness and/or diet plan, you’ll not only feel better about yourself, you’ll also appreciate your greater strength when it comes to the physical exertion that horses entail. And hey, if those jeans aren’t quite so tight, it’ll be a lot easier to mount!

In case you want to join us, here’s the way the five-pound challenge works:

Find a friend (or friends) willing to take the challenge with you—or join our online friends who are joining me in the challenge, by signing in below (hit the comments link at the end of this entry).

  1. Agree that you will lose five pounds over a certain period of time—we decided on one month, but it could be longer or maybe even have no time limit at all.
  2. Then agree on what the prize will be when you reach that goal—it should be something you’ve been wanting for a while but haven’t yet treated yourself to. We decided on a manicure this time, but also considered massages, a new pair of shoes, a day at the lake, Sunday brunch at our favorite restaurant, a lesson/clinic with your favorite instructor, a day-ride with your friends.
  3. Next have the weighing-in ceremony and document your starting weight—everyone on the same scale. Write it all down—starting weight and goal and everyone signs it. We followed our weighing-in ceremony with a rigorous hike up “butt hill”, kicking off our five-pound campaign.
  4. Then go to work to lose the weight—keeping in close contact with your fellow challengers and spurring each other on. Sharing ideas, recipes, successes, agonies and defeats, with a hard eye on the goal.

Dieting need not be so hard—there’s lots of ways to make it easier. There has never been a shortage of faddish new diet plans, each with its own gimmick. But at the end of the day, any successful diet always boils down to two important factors: eat less and move more. The trick is to finding the right system for you—whether it’s a proven formula like South Beach or Atkins, or a customized formula to meet your personality, lifestyle and blood type.

A while ago, I heard a health tip on the radio that said that if you wanted to lose 5-10 pounds, all you had to do was 20% more—or less. Eat 20% fewer calories and/or exercise 20% more. I’ve thought a lot about that since our challenge began last week and have decided that this is a good plan for me. I was already jogging 25 minutes every morning on the treadmill, so to do 20% more, I only have to add five minutes. That fits my schedule and my tolerance level just fine. Maybe you can add more time at the barn—more vigorous grooming, cleaning stalls, doing more ground work, riding without stirrups. Can you think of fun ways to increase your exercise while enjoying your horses?

Cutting 20% of your calories shouldn’t be that hard either. Heck, I can probably do that by just drinking water! Most of us have things we can either substitute (i.e., no-fat mayo instead of real mayo) to lose calories or we can cut portions. I like this idea because I can still eat what I want—not depriving myself, but just eating less of it. I proudly set aside 20% of my French fries last night, but still enjoyed “burger night” at our favorite restaurant with friends (of course, Cheryl, my challenge-mate, out-did me by having her salmon burger on a salad—no fries or bun!).

Spring time is the perfect time to get in better shape for the riding season. Will you join our challenge? I am already scheming on what my ultimate reward to myself will be when I reach my ultimate weight-loss goal. Right now I am leaning toward all new under garments—and I’m talking the good stuff, not the Wal-Mart undies I’ve been wearing!

What would your five-pound reward to yourself be? What about the ten-pound mark and other mile-markers you meet? I talk a lot in my clinics about what motivates horses and how to find the right amount of pressure to motivate a horse—but we work the same way! If we can motivate ourselves by sharing successes and failures with friends, with reasonable goals and scrumptious rewards, by making it as easy and fun as possible, it’s a whole lot easier to do!

I hope you’ll sign-on. Please comment below to join the fun and share any ideas you have that make it fun and easy!

Enjoy the ride,

Julie