We used this system here, where you earn points for good behaviors like exercising, drinking water, skipping sweets, etc. We skipped the first two weeks of the challenge so we could finish by Christmas Eve. Everyone puts in $10 as a show of participation and the pot gets split between the top points winner and the top weight-loss percentage winner. And I was the points winner! I lost fifteen pounds! I liked that so many of my friends were all doing it together so we could encourage each other, as well as compete. I was actually quite motivated by the competition - more than I would have thought I could be. Once I was in first place after the first week - I didn't want to give it up. It was also a huge help that my husband, Aaron, did the challenge with me. He was so supportive in everything. I normally hate it when he encourages me to go to the gym or to eat less sweets. But since it was part of the competition and he was doing it all too... well, I couldn't have done it without him.
Worst part of the challenge: eating fruits and veggies. I know you are supposed to integrate these into your meals, but I had a hard time with this and I'm not a big salad eater, which is where some people get their veggies. I'm glad it's winter though - I love cauliflower or butternut squash soup! I found myself stuffing down veggies and/or fruit at 8:30 most nights - which is 30 minutes before the no-food limit. I need to do better at this.
Best parts of the challenge: working out at the gym. You get the maximum points for exercising 45 minutes five times a week. I have finally caught the joy of the gym and I still have a long ways to go. I've been doing the bike (so I can read at the same time), walking on the treadmill (but want to work up to running sometime), and the elliptical. That elliptical machine is hard! And I have to do 45 minutes. Man it's good exercise! I look forward to trying some Yoga and Zumba classes soon too. Another great part of the challenge: drinking 64 ounces of water a day. I have come to really enjoy this and it makes me feel a lot better. I love that the challenge is set-up to reward good behavior rather than penalizing you.
I am going to use my winnings to buy some new exercise gear and maybe some running shoes. I am loving the new looseness to my clothes and some subtle changes to my body. We're starting the challenge again in a couple weeks and I'm hoping for at least 15 more pounds of loss. Maybe then I can set some kind of target weight goal. I am amazed at how natural my new behaviors and habits are starting to feel - except the no sweets. But I'm learning about moderation. I'm really looking forward to a new year and a new, healthier lifestyle for me!