SAN ANTONIO -

My name is Dina Lopez. I am 36 years old and a mother of four children.

I applied to the H-E-B Slim Down Showdown because my health and the health of my family depended on it.

My daughter is only 11 and she already weighs close to 200 pounds and is pre-diabetic. Things have to change around our house.

Luckily, I was one of 25 contestants in Texas selected for the 16-week contest, which started last week with a four-day wellness seminar.

The seminar was a wonderful experience, everyone was supportive and I learned so much.

I knew going into this that I had high cholesterol and blood pressure, but I was shocked to learn after our health screening that my body’s age is closer to 50 than to 36.

I skipped my 40s and went straight to my 50s! That was very disturbing, but I am determined to work hard to turn back the clock.

I also learned that the portions I have been serving are way too big. Servings of protein and grains should each be the size of my fist, while half my plate should be fruits or vegetables.

We took a field trip to the Olive Garden to learn how to make healthy choices when eating out. For me, that was a big relief to know that I could still eat out on special occasions and maintain my healthy eating.

The exercise sessions were great, I really enjoyed the run/walks along the Riverwalk.

I did have some trouble with yoga, but I am not ready to give up on it yet. I am pretty sure it will feel more comfortable with it after I drop some weight.

Now that I am back home, I have to implement everything I learned. Yikes!

My son asked me what we were having for dinner and I realized I would have to go shopping because nothing in the house was healthy.

I will be blogging about everything I am learning at heb.com/slimdown. I am taking on a huge challenge here, any advice or recipes are appreciated!