Three weeks after getting out of the hospital after my fourth c-section I learned I was selected as one of Real Woman’s Change for Good participants. I was thrilled. Getting back into shape is never easy but when you’re over 40 with three kids and a newborn, I’d need all the help I could get. With a year-long gym membership, weekly personal training, and a nutritionist consultation, 2014 now lay ahead as an opportunity not just to get back in shape but as a chance to get into great shape.

So what did I do for the remainder of 2013?  I ate. And I ate and I ate and I ate. It was my last hurrah, I reasoned. For two weeks I whole-heartily embraced a “the diet starts Monday” mentality because, I told myself, if someone was going to take a “Before” picture of me then I was going to be the best “Before” I could be!

(This, by the way, is my standard downfall: finding great reasons to justify an eating free for all.)

Christmas cookies, holiday dinners, hot chocolate with the kids, and yes, I do want whipped cream and marshmallows, and potato chips, delicious, salty, crunchy potato chips….with onion dip. I was like Templeton the rat from Charlotte’s Web, working my way through a veritable holiday smorgasbord. I also stopped doing any kind of physical activity because, well, I was busy eating.

By January 2, when our first personal training session was scheduled, I weighed more than when I had left the hospital. Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled with myself, especially when only my maternity workout pants fit, but I was looking forward to going back to the gym.

I actually really enjoy working out and being active: bike riding, walking, aerobic classes, weightlifting, rollerblading, hiking, or Zumba. I like just about anything active except golf, and I’d probably like that if there were relay races between the holes.

But my first training session was awful.  I can’t blame Dave, our trainer.  He was great. What was awful was coming to the full realization of just how out of shape I was.

It wasn’t like I didn’t know I was out of shape but thinking about it is very different than actually feeling it.  Pre-pregnancy, push-ups on my toes were standard, now I could barely do a push-up on my knees.  Jumping jacks, well, they started as jumping but soon became toe-tapping jacks. What made everything worse was that I strongly suspected Dave was taking it easy on us because it was our first session.

But we finished, and I was happy because, as they say, the first step of any journey is the hardest. I’d taken that first step and, despite being painfully sore, I’m excited to see where the rest of this journey takes me.

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