For the past six weeks, some friends from The Rock and I have been taking part in a weight loss challenge. It all started at my birthday tea where a couple of the girls started chatting about how much cake we eat, how much they wanted to shed a few unwanted kilograms and how hard it was to maintain a healthy diet and exercise lifestyle. A couple more ladies joined the conversation, and the weight loss challenge was born. To join the challenge we had to find a partner and each put a set amount of money into the kitty. The challenge would last six weeks and the top two teams who had lost the greatest percentage of weight and centimeters would be paid out the money in the kitty. A Whatsapp chat group was set up, partners chosen, junk food tossed, gym cards dusted off and we were on our way. And now, six weeks later we have all lost varying amounts of weight. I think our combined weight loss is probably equal to one medium-sized person! Some ladies have reached their goals, most of us have a few more kilos to go before we dig our bikinis out from the back of our cupboards. It has been a fun, challenging, invigorating, motivating experience and has taught me a lot, not only about a maintaining a healthy body, but also a healthy life. The most important lesson I learnt is that community is key. Without a community of like-minded people around me, it is so easy to get sucked into the black hole of my bad habits. Of course what I eat, drink, watch, listen to and say are totally up to me, but when I know there are women alongside me with the same values, aspirations and struggles as me, it is so much easier to stay the course. We encourage each other, joke with each other, share our frustrations and our successes, we are vulnerable and honest, we spur each other on. And taking it one step further, friends to whom we are accountable make all the difference. Those people who walk closely with us, celebrate our small successes and support us despite our failings are priceless. Without my partner, who knew every kilo up and down, I probably would have been a lot less disciplined. Real friendships challenge me to do more and be more. And surpassing all this was the love and friendship built between us over the six weeks. Common values and goals draw us together. Through shared experiences we form bonds of friendship which carry us forward. So tonight I am, of course, grateful that my body is a little more prepared for summer than it was six weeks ago. But way more than that, I am grateful for the real, deep, beautiful friendships that have been forged and strengthened along the way. Community is key. Key for weight loss. Key for faith. Key for life. (This post was taken from Christy’s blog – you can read more of her adventures and musings here)