I’ve been on a journey to get healthy since June of 2011. I made the decision to change six months before my 40th birthday. I was determined to change my lifestyle and my life. I wanted to start my 40’s feeling healthy and active instead of overweight and out of shape.

I’ve been a yo-yo dieter for most of my life, so I wanted this time to be different. I didn’t want to focus on the scale. I wanted to change my habits and learn to be healthy. I wanted to work out consistently and challenge myself to do new things.

I did really well for most of the year. I worked out 3-5 times per week, and even competed in my first Warrior Dash. Over the next few months, I competed in three more 5Ks. I lost two sizes and felt so much stronger. I actually enjoyed running for the first time in my life! It wasn’t easy and there were definitely times when I struggled with keeping my eating healthy.

The last few months have been somewhat similar. My workout routines have been varied and I took some time off to rest a shoulder injury. I have also had some issues with my hips now that I’ve been running more.

It’s left me feeling like I need a jumpstart.

I had really wanted to be much closer to my ultimate goal prior to my 41st birthday. But, I continually remind myself that this is a lifestyle and not just a diet.

Jumpstarts are usually good, though, so I was very excited to hear about this 21 Days to a Hunger-Free (and Healthy) Holiday.

I just volunteered with some friends at Feed My Starving Children earlier this week. Every time I go there and see the videos of kids who only have a meal every now and then (if they’re lucky), I feel so disappointed in myself for being overweight. I pictured myself traveling to one of those countries. I imagined how my heart would ache seeing the incredible poverty and knowing how poorly I have dealt with my own misuse of food and my weight. I have been planning and praying about taking an international trip in the next year or so, and the thought of doing that while still overweight weighed heavy on my heart.

So, yesterday I joined Sarah Farish, who introduced me to the challenge, as well as Clare and her community in the quest to get healthy. I will use Clare’s notes and reward myself by putting money in a jar each time I choose a healthy choice over a bad one, or exercise. This challenge fits me well because I am not as focused on losing pounds as I am about making healthy choices.

I am really looking forward to making a nice contribution to the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry in three weeks. You can learn all about the challenge here or follow on Facebook here. Clare has made it super simple and easy to jump right in.

I am excited about helping a local food pantry as well as getting back into living healthier before 2013 comes.

Have you made any decisions to be healthier during the holidays?