Two percent - and I'm not talking about milk here. I'm talking about the percentage of excess fat that I have left to lose before I'm in my healthy weight range.

With just over 3 weeks left to go in the challenge, I feel like my goals are finally in sight, just within my reach. I'm finally seeing numbers on the scale that I haven't seen since before I started my stint in the tiny human making business.

Let me be the first to tell you that it feels AMAZING.

I mean, sure, who doesn't love looking their best, but do you know what's even better? Feeling your best, day in and day out. Having loads more energy and stamina. Feeling truly comfortable in your own skin.

Pushing yourself harder than you ever thought you could. Seeing yourself accomplishing goals you weren't entirely sure were even possible at the starting line.

I've been reflecting on those first few weeks lately, as our challenge is drawing to a close soon. What was I thinking? I asked myself this a lot right after I submitted my application. What am I doing? I asked myself as I drove up to the newspaper office to have my initial pictures taken.

How will I ever get through this? I asked myself the very first time I parked in the gym's parking lot. Did I ever think about quitting?

Of course. Honestly, it crosses my mind about halfway through each and every workout, right around the same time that I'm silently cursing my trainer, the gym equipment and myself for putting me through this yet another time.

Why am I putting myself through this? Why should I keep making time for this when I have so many other things I need to do? Is it really going to be worth it in the end?

Well, let me share my answers with you. First of all, I was (and still am) thinking about taking better care of myself, which is why I signed up for this thing in the first place. I am doing this for myself, first and foremost, and so I can better take care of my husband and children.

I will get through this by keeping a positive mindset, focusing on my goals, and keeping track of all my progress, both big and small. I'm putting myself through all of this, because I know in my heart that this is the very best thing I can do for myself. I'm making time for it because it's important to me, and because taking care of myself has to be a lifelong priority for me.

Looking back at how I far I've come in such a relatively short amount of time, I can absolutely assure you that it is definitely going to be all worth it in the end. Even if I never lost another pound the rest of the challenge, I would still be infinitely better off than I was the first day I started out.

Family and friends, especially my wonderfully supportive husband, are even seeing positive changes in me because of all the hard work I've been putting in and the sacrifices I've been making. I will say that nothing that I've had to give up or change has been more satisfying than the way I look and feel right now. Absolutely nothing. I wouldn't trade where I am right now for any of the bad habits or sweet indulgences I had before.....well, except for maybe.....ok, no, not even that.

Seriously though, I've started shopping for new clothes and that's been such a confidence booster for me. And I know, I know, it's not what's on the outside, but what's on the inside that really matters. I still completely believe that, but I also don't think it hurts if the outside matches the inside.

Besides, we only get one body for this journey, so we might as well make it the very best it can be. Personally, I even bought a brand new bikini (NOT an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini by any means, but one that I felt was appropriate for a respectable mom of five who still likes to look sexy for her hubby) to celebrate all my hard work and I actually feel great in it.

Now, I haven't worn one since before I started having my children and I'm not at all saying that I look like a teenage supermodel in it by any means, but I do feel that it flatters my curves and shape and makes me look like the healthy and fit woman that I am becoming.

So, let this be an encouragement to any of you out there who are thinking of challenging yourself in some way. As that famous athletic wear company says, "Just. Do. It."

Take the risk, whether it's a public challenge like this one or a private one that you make with yourself. Go for it. See how far you can go. See how much progress you can make. Enjoy watching your body change for the better along the way. Trust me, you'll be so very glad you did. I know I am.