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Sandra Garth's journal

Garth treadmill
Garth, right, is exercising regularly after years of relative inactivity.
Health Treatment

(CNN) -- Like her four fellow "New You Revolution" participants, Sandra Garth is recording regular journal entries documenting her efforts to break bad habits over the program's eight-week run.

A one-time fitness instructor, Garth hopes to better her health by improving her eating habits and exercising regularly once again. Below are excerpts from the 50-year-old Michigan resident's journal. (Profile; E-mail Garth)

February 22-28

The snow here is horrible. I have had enough of winter already. Check out this amazing step count: 22,542!!! Calorie total 1,198.

(Editor's note: A nutritionist told Garth she should eat at least 1,200 calories per day to keep up her metabolism. For weeks, Garth had difficulty consuming that many calories in a given day. She was also told she should try to walk at least 10,000 steps a day.)

I did 45 minutes of in home walking and some lunges with weights. Went to the "Y" and did 50 minutes of cardio and nautilus.

I feel great, and it is almost time for Casey to come home. He won't believe how much his boys have grown.

[On another day, I did] 14,424 steps. I did 110 minutes of cardio between the "Y" and home today, and also worked abs on the fitball.

I was going to be satisfied with just the in home walking. But I had a very strong urge to snack, so I thought I better move around. That's when I did the low impact aerobics. It worked -- that and lots of water.

I haven't shoveled a lot in recent years, because it hurt so much in my joints. I don't know how I'll feel in the morning, but right now I feel good. I think I still may be up in the clouds about my 19 pound weight loss. Can you see me grinning?

Looking forward even more to going back to the Big Apple. I was a little apprehensive the last time. Now I'm ready ... Losing even the smallest amount of weight gives you lots of confidence.

(Editor's note: The "New You" participants fly to New York at the conclusion of the 8-week program, on March 8.)

And I just got a phone call from Germany. MY BABY IS OUT OF IRAQ!!! I am a happy, happy camper.

(Editor's note: Garth's son, Casey, and her daughter-in-law, Theresa, had been serving in Tikrit, Iraq, with the U.S. military. Theresa returned to the United States earlier in Februrary.)

February 15-21

13,540 steps for the day and 1,206 calories. I feel so full right now.

I got a late start on eating today. I started with a protein drink. Later, I had a banana and two pieces of peanut butter toast with tea. Dinner was grilled pork tenderloin, a yam and salad. While watching TV, I had my evening snack.

[On another day] I went to the "Y" and worked on the nautilus machines and did the bike and treadmill. Before dinner, I did 35 minutes of in-home walking. Not a bad day.

This week I bought pre-made, low-fat pudding. It's convenient, but doesn't taste as good as making it from the mix. I probably won't buy it anymore. Two weeks until New York -- I'm excited.

[Now, onto another day.] Can you believe I took in 1304 calories today? I am full to the brim. I drank lots of water also, so I feel like a blimp. I had a protein drink for breakfast, then I had a mid-breakfast of peanut butter toast, banana and tea.

Then I had an apple and half a turkey sandwich for lunch; pork tenderloin, veggies and salad for dinner; and a protein bar in the evening. I did the in-home walking tape and a body sculpting tape today for a total of 85 minutes of exercise. My step count right now is 14,440.

[Onto another day] Unbelievable step count today -- 20,809!!!!!!!! I shared a turkey sandwich with [her grandson] Shannon for lunch. I also had carrots, but he didn't -- he won't eat them.

I'm almost ready to start the countdown until Casey leaves the desert.

My husband finally noticed today that I have lost weight. He thinks I should be able to lose a total of 20 pounds by the time I go back to New York. I'm not pushing that goal, though. If I lose 3-4 more pounds, I'll be a happy camper.

Wait until you see me in June though, that will be a different story. The hardest part of this is still ahead. Losing the weight is easy; keeping it off is the dickens. Not to worry -- I'll handle it with ease.

February 8-14

Another day of making my total, calorie wise -- 1249 for the day. It's not easy to do it. I understand all the reasons for it, but it's still not easy.

I went to the Y another day, and increased to two sets on the nautilus and did 60 minutes of cardio. Believe it or not. I took in 1234 calories, it wasn't easy.

Had a nice field trip with my nutritionist: We went to [a national chain restaurant] to see how I'd do ordering out, healthy style. I passed with flying colors.

First of all, they give you a huge hunk of bread, not whole wheat, and a plate of olive oil for dipping. I had a very small piece of bread that I didn't even finish. I ordered chicken breast and substituted the pasta with grilled asparagus, and I had broccoli also.

I ate about half and brought the rest home. I asked if they had a nutritional analysis, but they didn't. Passed on dessert.

The best news of all, 6 more pounds lost, and another 2 inches [off my waistline]. Yippee!!!!!!!!!! That's a total of 13 pounds gone and 9 inches. You go girl!

February 1-7

I still get people asking me how the program is going. Even at the grocery store today, the cashier said she saw the article in the paper and asked how things were going.

It still amazes me that the community is interested in what I'm doing. There was once a time when I was embarrassed by how much I ate. Things are a bit different now. I'm kind of embarrassed at how little I ate today. I know I'm supposed to be eating more, but right now it's just not happening.

When I went to the store today, I felt pretty snazzy. My clothes were a little looser and my coat definitely had more slack in it. I love that feeling!!! It's only going to get better.

Nine hundred eleven calories for the day. Not good, I know, but better than yesterday. I actually had breakfast early because the kids were up. Toast with peanut butter, and apple and chai tea.

I've really got to work on the all-or-nothing mentality. The impatience is about to set in. I want this weight gone, and I want it gone yesterday.

The photographer from the local newspaper came and watched me prepare dinner: grilled chicken breasts marinated in mango nectar, plus (whole wheat) pasta with mushrooms, peppers, onions, grape tomatoes, asparagus, low-carb pasta sauce and a tossed salad.

I finally got a chance for that long bubble bath. I've got to do that more often.

January 25-31

I'm really trying to eat more. But I'm still coming in at about 1260 calories -- 1600 is supposed to be the magic number.

I went to the "Y" to work out, and was tickled to see a picture of me and the other "fab" ones on the bulletin board in the locker room.

Even though I knew I was going to the "Y," I did 50 minutes of the in-home walking tape, and used the resistance bands. That may have been too much. Those dreaded heel spurs are just like a bad penny, they keep turning up.

Now I'm pampering my feet a bit so as to not aggravate those nasty spurs.

I have been sedentary for so long, that I just want to do it all NOW. Slow and steady wins the race.

My official step count Wednesday was 20,392. WOW, WOW, WOW!

How many miles from here is Tikrit? And how many miles would I have to walk on the treadmill each week till I got there?

January 18-24

I have been walking a lot, taking a stretching class and doing Aqua Pilates. Most of the day I feel energetic, happy.

I treated myself to a (healthy) birthday cake on Monday and vodka. (Hey, it's my birthday.) This is a wonderful opportunity to share my 50th birthday with my new friends, as well as seeing videotape of my family on CNN.

I walked after lunch, skipped dessert and thought positive. I actually hit the doctor-recommended amount of walking -- 10,000 steps a day! With my new shoes, I did get blisters on my feet, though.

This has been a pretty stressful weekend. We have snow up the wazoo, it's ice cold, Mr. Puppy, our family Rottweiler, is sick, and I had a flat tire.

It calls for comfort food, and what's more comforting than chocolate? Instead I did a 30-minute body sculpting tape, but now I'm achy. So I took a nice hot bath.

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