I am thrilled to introduce you to our August "Go Vegetarian" coaching client, Dawn.

Dawn has done something that many think can't be done. A few years ago, she completely changed her body by changing her habits. After spending two decades in the 200-pound range, Dawn had a wake-up experience. In March 2009, Dawn went to a weekend ski clinic, and only made it through the first half of the first day. She loved skiing, but she simply couldn't do it; it was too much for her body.

The next day she was so sore she couldn’t walk, much less ski. She joined a gym the following Monday. She began working out 4 to 5 times per week, and the weight started to come off slowly, about 1½ pounds per week.

Today Dawn weighs 130 pounds. And she's feeling so good about her body, that now, at 52 years old, Dawn as decided to compete in a figure competition (that's a step below body building). See her before and after photos below (Go Dawn!):

"It’s so fun to feel strong, to have muscles, to feel like I look good in clothes, and not worry about what will make me look fat," said Dawn. "Also, I love to watch people who haven’t seen me in a while, and see their responses. I like having guys watch me when I walk by. That hasn't happened for many many years."

Flirting is fun, but good health is even better. Dawn's cholesterol wasn't healthy; now it is. Dawn's blood sugar is normal, and her blood pressure and pulse are better. "All of my labs come back great; my doctor hugs me. Those changes aren’t the result of rapid weight loss; they're from all the other changes."

Dawn changed her habits. And that, after all, is the point of the 12 Healthy Habits challenge. I am so thoroughly impressed with Dawn's commitment and success that I wanted to share; this is what can happen when you make up your mind to make a change.

It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. "You need to make the hard changes, and you need to be patient. It has to become a full-time job. My significant other was willing to see less of me for 1½ years – in order for me to gain health," Dawn said.

As for our August goal of eating vegetarian one day per week, now that's a particular challenge for Dawn. Weight lifters praise the benefits of after-workout protein, and many claim that there is no substitute for animal protein. Dawn has had to increase her protein, and wants to find protein alternatives without heading toward processed vegetarian proteins like tofu or tempeh.

This week, she's playing with beans. Dawn can rock a winter bean soup, but has not experimented with beans as a main dish. She'll be making a Pesto Garbanzo salad, (pesto is one of the sauces she swore off when she started her weight loss; but she's going to prep it from scrach and bring it back).

Dawn is very proud of her tomato salsa, and want's to use it more. This week, she's adding a couple of Mexican vegetarian dishes that will put that salsa to use: Stuffed Poblanos (think grilled corn, spinach, zucchini and queso fresco), and Enchiladas.

Check back here and find out how she does. Because if there's a way to do it; Dawn will make it happen!