Sweat Equity has its Day at Last
By Dena Amoruso

It was time. Time to stop looking down at thighs that had begun to rub together when I walked. Time to stop telling my teenaged daughter and husband to "stifle it" when they repeatedly told me I should exercise. And time to stop referring to my figure as "somewhat matronly".

Well into my forties and beginning to tip my hat at 50 in a few years, I am finally at the point where it doesn't really matter to me what other people think any more. Having found a career I could manage from my home office and leave the corporate world behind, I have at last become self-sufficient, answering to no one in particular, and I like it just fine.

That leaves me with what else I want for myself, and, more realistically speaking, what I can have if I just put forth the effort to get it. A figure I am proud of? Sounds far-fetched, but why not? Call it one woman's rage against the age machine. No, I don't expect to be smiling up from the pages of magazines with before and after photographs to monitor my success. This is a quiet battle; one in which no one else is involved.

And so it has begun. Two and a half months ago the journey to "fit" began. The scary thing is the way I am thinking about it this time. As if there's no turning back. I suppose when, in your forties, you begin to see "permanent" losses take place in your life, such as the death of parent, you begin to appreciate the value of each day and what needs to be done with it. And, even though the loss may have taken place several years ago, it is ever with you, re-shaping the way you perceive the future.

Do I want my future to find me worrying about heart trouble within the next fifteen to twenty years? Am I doing all I can to be around for my would-be grandchildren's high school and college graduations someday? Do I look forward to browsing the "women's" size sections of my favorite stores, forever wearing long jackets and covering up my waist? No, no, no --to all of these! That is why there is no turning back.

The big picture stuff may be what motivates me in my heart, but it's the little conquests in which I will find the most immediate rewards. Such as looking forward to my husband's business trip to the beaches of Miami this spring, where I will want to wear a new bathing suit and not have to envision rolls of "back fat" and jello-like thighs. And an evening dinner in a bare-shouldered gown in which I won't need to hide the fatty pockets under my arms.

What's great about all of this is that getting fit will satisfy so many of the things in my life I have been putting off. Getting healthier, having more energy, looking better, and feeling better about myself. If you add the possibility of longer life to that equation you can only come out of it one way - a winner.

The first 2 ½ months of exercise has been a testing period. I have gotten on and fallen off the apple cart of workout sessions at my health club. I have sabotaged my own efforts by naming excuses for not showing up on the designated days, and I have been in denial when facing my personal weaknesses: water drinking and the amount of time I will devote to the cardio portion of my workout. But I have persevered for the first time and am still doing it. The results so far? Believe it or not, even with all my failings there are some. Although my weight is basically the same, my clothes do fit better, my thighs now barely touch, and I can "touch" the budding firmness in my thighs, arms and abdomen. I am ecstatic for these small changes, however trivial they may sound, and can predict that incremental changes such as these will be the impetus to keep me going. That, and the fact that I have already invested so much of myself and my time into the effort, that I don't want to see it all go to waste.

And so the trek has begun. This is the first in a series of articles to monitor my successes and failures along the way. But, as so many sages have said, it's the journey, and not the destination that is so important. I hope you will be there along the way, cheering me on and perhaps even joining in my quest for fitness. I may get brutally honest in my next report by telling all - weight, height, goal, etc. , because I believe there are a great many women like myself; dying to rid themselves of their middle-aged look, and also worried about their health as they enter "active adult" status. For those of you who are on the same journey, I hope you will welcome me to your fold; for those who wish to amusedly observe, I will think of you as holding my hand through the rough spots. There's nowhere to go but up; there's nothing to become but more fit.

Dena Amoruso runs a freelance writing business and is a self-syndicated real estate columnist. Recently deciding to pursue her love of writing full time finds her at home for the first time since her daughter was small. In an effort to expand her writing to real life women's issues, she will be writing for as a mother, daughter, and wife. We hope you enjoy her reflections on experiences (some humorous!) that we may all face from time to time.

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