Photos: Before: Ruven Afanador. After: Ben Baker

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Caroline "Cookie" Minick Mason
Then: 194 lbs.
Now: 170 lbs.

When the weight loss challenge started, I said I wanted to be "fit and fabulous." Check and check! I'm now taking a much healthier approach to my weight as well as to my time, and I'm making self-care a bigger priority. I'm happy to report that I do feel stronger and fitter—I feel like I'm setting a good example for my kids.

Now, in terms of my weight, I'm not yet where I want to be, but I'm happy with how far I've come. The lifestyle changes I could make 15 years ago to instantly drop pounds just don't work the same at 50. Fortunately, my age also brings perspective: I'm able to look at the whole picture and give myself a break.

I think I'm a realistic representation of most women—our weight goes up and down, and it's very hard to get rid of those last ten pounds. Do I still plan to try? Of course. I'm only partway through this journey, and I'm learning to accept myself and my progress a little more each day.


Eat Your Veggies
We do Meatless Mondays at home as a family to help our kids pick up healthier habits: My baked sweet-potato casserole is a crowd favorite.

Call In the Pros
Personal trainers can be expensive, but mine keep me accountable. They'll text daily: "Cookie, when can you come in?" That helps me stay on track.

Stash Snacks
Since I'm always in the car, I keep it stocked with healthy snacks to stop me from going into the fast food drive-through.