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In the last 18 months, I’ve put on 17 net pounds. Those of you who lose and gain weight understand what I’m talking about when I say net: I’ve gained than 17 pounds, but I do keep losing some of it. (Brilliant strategy, right?!)

One thing I know about myself is that I can’t seem to lose, and keep off, weight without the exercise component. So, last week after a few months of basically zero exercise and lots of rich eating, (damn you, Food Network Magazine and holiday eating!) it was time to drag myself to the YMCA. 

When I have gone to the Y over the last few years I have mostly gone to the same class with the same trainer — but that class and trainer aren’t at the Y anymore … which means any comfort zone I had at my local Y is gone. I've decided to try out a few different classes to see which ones fit. So far I have attended a 15 minute abdominals class with my 20-year-old daughter — I don’t see me going back to that anytime soon. Then we tried a Power Yoga class — I think I liked it. I’m going to try it again tomorrow for clarity. I also went to a kickboxing class on Monday. I liked that class a lot. 

Today I went to a Step-Fit class. Oh. My. Gosh. My favorite part (besides the fact that I didn’t pass out) was the older ladies helping me when they heard it was my first time taking a step class. They checked my risers to make sure they had the little black sticky pads on the bottom — one was missing, so one of the ladies went to fetch me a different riser. Then another older lady came to clean my little black sticky pads — they told me this would help the whole contraption not to slide around. They must have been quite worried about me!

This class kicked my butt. I had to stand at the back of the room a few times to alleviate the dizziness I was experiencing — while the older ladies kept step-step-stepping away. When the class was over, they asked if I liked it and if I would come back. I said I would likely come back and they assured me it would get easier, almost patting me on the back for my efforts. I will come back — if only for their friendliness and encouragement. 

I can, and do, find many arguments not to go to the gym: I don’t have time, I don’t want to, I don’t feel like it, I’m too tired. But I am making a conscious effort to change what I tell myself. I will be 50 in two years and six weeks and I want to be strong, I want to be flexible, I want to have energy, I want my skin to glow, I want my pants to fit, I want to be healthy. I want to feel good every day when I go to my closet to get dressed

Today I had this idea, what if I lost 50 pounds by my 50th birthday? This would put me right in the middle of the medical recommendation for my age and height (thank you, Google). If I only lose 28 pounds by the time I’m 50 I will be at the top of that range — which would be perfectly wonderful for me and I will be thrilled. But for now I will set my sights on 50 by 50. I’ve done the math, it means .45 pounds per week, which is only 1.8 pounds per month. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, which makes this seem doable. In 18 months, I’ve gained almost 18 pounds, what if in 25 months, I lost 50 pounds? 

Maybe someday I will be the older lady helping the younger woman rise up so she doesn’t slide all over. Until then I will set my sights on getting to the gym 3 times a week,  logging my Weight Watchers points and hopefully not getting so dizzy!

(I touched on my weight-loss quest over here earlier this week.)