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Winning the war.

2008-12-07 - 10:31 p.m.

I donít talk about this aspect of my life much, but Iím a certified group fitness instructor and, when not on mat leave like I am now, I teach two classes a week and have done so since 2002. These are hour-long pre-choreographed weight-lifting classes, with barbells and plates. Before getting certified in this type of class, I took it for about 3 years. Before that, starting in 1997, I just went to the gym and used the cardio machines, weight-lifting machines and free weights.

When I started, I seriously doubted Iíd stick with it. (Actually, the same could be said of writing this journal, which Iíve kept at for over five years now.) No one was more surprised than I when time rolled on and I kept on going, even finding a new gym when I moved from my university town back to Ottawa after the first year.

And I loved it, the gym I mean. Still do. If I had more time, Iíd go more often. I donít have to drag myself there, rather I have to steal an hour when I can, which I do a few times a week. Way back when I was single the only places I spent more time were work and my apartment. If I had nothing planned for an evening I was all, ďSweet! Iím going to the gym!Ē

Two kids and a few years later, I donít look like the gym rat I once was. Iíve recently grazed my pre-pregnancy weight, but thatís not my end goal since Iíd allowed the pounds to creep on a bit. And I have no real intention of getting back to my previously-buff bod, to be honest: I have far too many other things that are more deserving of my time and effort than that. Even at my absolute peak, when you could see the muscles bunch under my skin and my thighs didnít touch each other constantly, I knew that that particular look was temporary and that I wouldnít always have the luxury of oodles of time to devote to myself. In fact, I hoped for it; after all, meeting a fabulous partner and eventually starting a family sounded like a pretty good gig, and I knew that that would require me to turn a good chunk of my attention to someone Ė and then, hopefully, someones Ė else. So I made a point of enjoying my body: I dressed in short shirts; I danced (oh, how I danced) every weekend; I flirted and dated with abandon; I sometimes ran when I was going somewhere, not because I was late, but because I could. And, sure enough, eventually I did meet that fabulous partner and the rest? Well, you can read five-yearís-worth of the history that followed.

So, really, I am fine with slow progress towards a goal (I want my mostly size-10 wardrobe to fit comfortably and even a bit loosely, which it currently, emphatically does NOT) that is realistic, attainable, sustainable, and appropriate for someone with two small children, a husband, a full-time job waiting for her at the end of mat leave, a fledgling photography business, a part-time job at the gym, the odd job doing some number-crunching or writing/editing for my dadís business, and family and friends to stay connected with. As mentioned, my first step was to get to my pre-pregnancy weight and, frankly, Iím ahead of schedule there since Iíd been thinking ďnine months on, nine months offĒ.

Every time Iím at the gym I hop on the scale. If itís gone down I wave my arms in celebration (literally), but if it hasnít I shrug, and if someone looks at me quizzically I smile and say, ďI may not win every battle but Iím winning the war.Ē And frankly, what I think is the most important thing for me is that I'm still in the fight.

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