The Belt: September 2013

When I was in middle school or high school I bought a belt from The Gap. It’s a good belt. Strong brown leather with a silver buckle. Not like the cheap ones that have 6-12 months of wear in them that are sold today. No, this is mighty fine belt. Only, my belt was too big. Oops. I bought the wrong size. So Joe, my stepfather, hammered 4 more holes into the belt and I was good to go.

I wore that belt in the smallest hole for years. But as time went on, the belt had to be loosened a notch here, a few more there…

After 20+ years and a lot of living, the belt finally settled on the third original hole. It has remained on that hole for years. There are many reasons that the belt had to be loosened. None of them are excuses. It just happened, and life went on.

About 18 months ago I took up running. I didn’t take it up to lose weight. I didn’t even take it up to get in shape. I started because my sister invited me to run in the Broad Street 10 miler, so I thought, “Eh!  Why not?”

After a year of just running, I added some basic low weight strength and ab workouts. My endurance was lasting longer, my pace was quickening, my mind was clearing, and life went on…

It took another 6 months, but I began to actually miss running on the days I didn’t run and to feel almost lethargic without the follow up toning.     And without me noticing it, I was tightening the belt, and life went on…

I recently joined the local community center upon moving, just over 2 weeks ago. They have a daily aerobic class that’s actually at the perfect time.  (That never happens!) But I LOATHE group workouts. They make me feel uncoordinated, clumsy, and quite self-conscious.

Seriously, I can still free style dance circles around many people. My flexibility hasn’t wavered much since college and I can still do the running man with J-Lo  and The Fly Girls if asked.  I happily attribute my mad grapevine skills to my heritage and the Horah, and would gladly dance till dawn for any celebration be it zumba, a wedding, a dance marathon, or just for fun. Yes DeBarge, I can feel “the rhythm of the night”.

But there’s something about working out in groups…

But I decided to make this a daily attempt to try something new, to meet people, to get in better shape, the list could go on as life goes on…

Anyway, (I think) I am currently in the best shape of my life since high school. That being said, today’s class was “cardio party.”  It was awesome.  There was dancing, jumping, boxing, kicking, and an “ab lab” at the end. It’s the perfect class for me and my belt.

Yet it’s still a class, a group…as in not alone, in front of other people.  The class was pretty much split into three groups. The first were seemingly just like me: (Younger?) stay at home or part time working moms who dropped one or more of their little ones off at the “kids club” before heading to class. Looking around I knew I was in good company, and that these ladies were hard core to get rid of the infamous “baby belly” and that I could learn from them, and possibly make friend or two.

Then there were the older (middle aged?) women. They could clearly advise me on child rearing and such, but I wasn’t so sure about this class for them. I mean really, the sound track alone might be too loud.

And finally, there were the seniors, as in citizens…senior citizens, complete with an AARP card and more. What in the world?  Running, yes, but cardio party?!?!? I was, totally ready to break out my “I know CPR!  You, call 911!”

{And I wouldn’t want to forget the lone male in the class. From the looks of him, he lifts…a lot. The dancing and rhythm wasn’t so much his thing, but he was great comic relief for the instructor, and honestly did keep up relatively well.}

Anyway, heading into the class I thought, “I got this!”  But let me tell you, the seniors schooled me. I mean, kicked my arse to the curb, how the “H” are they still going when I’m so friggin winded SCHOOLED me.

I can honestly say that I cannot wait to lose another notch on my belt with these inspirational women, because they know that life really does go on…

Honestly, I don’t have a scale. I don’t measure my self worth in looks, weight, or what notch my belt is on. I think I’m similar to many women. There are days that I look in the mirror and think, “hells yeah, I still got it!” And others when I’d rather not even look because the reflection reflects my mood and glares, “come back never” even though you know to just give it a day or two…

I don’t expect, or even want, to reach that last hole in my belt again. But I will say, that with a very basic exercise routine and even more basic dietary changes (trying to keep it to what GOD/ Mother Earth for realz made, except for wine, caramel, brownies & s’mores) I just feel better & healthier.

So here’s to a happier and healthier new year! This year I challenge you to go get schooled, go get in shape, go get better at whatever you’re trying to better about you.   Just go & get it!


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