On Feb. 1, 2011 four women decided to try the 28 Day Challenge (see January 2011 Ask Mikey's column, "A 28-Day Challenge that could change your life and the lives of those around you") and their lives have changed ever since.

It all started with one woman named Patty.

Patty read the article and thought that she would give the challenge a try because there were a few changes she wanted to make in her own life. So she decided her challenge would be to give up all sugar and to exercise more.

"The first day of my challenge was the hardest because anyone that knows me knows how much I love sugar and sweets," Patty said.

With giving up all sugar, she also added giving up all desserts in general. One year later, Patty has lost a total of 22 1/2 pounds, started swimming again when she hasn't been able to swim at all for the last 2 1/2 years, and stated that she hasn't felt this good in years.

"This is the longest I've ever tried anything and I'm succeeding. The challenge gave me hope," she said.

Once Patty started noticing all of the positive changes she was making in her own life, she decided to pay it forward and tell three of her friends about her success, and they decided to try it.

Katrina agreed to try the 28 Day Challenge to switch to all organic food. Upon switching, she said she started feeling lighter, so she then began to exercise more, and started taking the stairs instead of the elevator. She said she felt as if she cleaned her body out by making the switch, and this ex-athlete got her drive back. Her new challenge for the upcoming year is to want to be fit enough to be able to travel to New Zealand in 2013, and to be in such good shape to do all of their outdoor activities. So far, Katrina has lost a total of 35 pounds by following her challenge.

Sandra heard from Dr. Oz that it is good for your body if you drink hot lemon water every day, so for her challenge she chose to drink a cup of hot lemon water each day. She does this first thing each morning and says she feels better, and that her health has improved and she now has better balance, can touch her toes, and is more active each day. Sandra has lost a total of 20 pounds by just making a few changes in her life.

Marsha chose a different challenge from the rest of the group last year. She decided that she wanted to work on her business every day for at least 15 minutes. This year, her goal is to walk at least a mile every day and to continue the challenge. By being a part of this group Marsha says she feels more motivated because she has positive support and is thankful that Patty shared the article with her so that she could join in the challenge.

These four women gave the challenge a try and lasted well beyond the 28 days, one year to be exact ... and counting.

"It is like a snowball effect," they said. "You start doing one challenge and then you have more energy and drive to make it lead into other changes, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. We all took baby steps, but a year later we keep adding small changes here and there, and we all notice a huge difference."

Patty, Katrina, Sandra and Marsha are proof that anyone can try the 28-Day Challenge and succeed, whether you want to improve your health, finish projects you started but have yet to finish, quit smoking, quit drinking, go back to school, church or even spend more time with your family - no matter what changes you want to make in your life, the challenge can help you achieve your goals. This is not a diet but, better yet, a mindset that you can teach yourself to focus on one thing in your life that you would like to improve on for 28 days straight. After the 28 days, you will realize that you can continue your challenge for another 28 days, or perhaps start a new challenge.

The 28-Day Challenge was written to challenge the members of our community to break a bad habit, or to develop a positive new one. Since last year had 28 days in February, the challenge was perfect to try for the whole month of February. This year, February has 29 days so consider the extra day to be a bonus day for your challenge!

Good luck with all of your personal goals this year, and if you have any success stories from the 28-Day Challenge, please feel free to share them by emailing myaskmikey@yahoo.com.

A special thanks to Patty, Katrina, Sandra and Marsha for coming forward with their success stories. Each of you is a positive inspiration to our community!

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle "Mikey" Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at www.myaskmikey.com or myaskmikey@yahoo.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.