Michelle was a size five in high school.
She weighed one-hundred ten pounds and was quite athletic. In addition to being
the head cheerleader of her Southern High Cougars cheerleading squad, Michelle
played tennis and volleyball. In her free time, she could often be found
running 5K road races in less than nineteen minutes where she would win
trophies to add to the growing collection of shiny brass that adorned the
shelves above her bedroom desk.

But that was ten years ago. During the
decade’s days that dashed by in a seeming dream since high school graduation,
Michelle had realized the thwarting reality of the forewarned “freshman fifteen”.
She had experienced firsthand, the havoc that carrying a nine pound baby boy
could create, and her tennis shoes had not touched a tennis court or running
course in more time than she could recall. Michelle’s emotions meandered around
a maze that muddled the images of who she was ten years ago versus who she is today,
as she tried to determine a course that would lead her to who she wanted to be.

Michelle was no longer a one-hundred ten
pound athlete with an abundance of spare time to spend traveling to weekend road
races where she could bring home the gold. Instead, she was a one-hundred fifty
pound single mom who worked two jobs and felt fully fatigued when her feet
finally found the front door of her brick ranch haven. Michelle was tired,
depleted of energy, and unhappy with the person who had evolved from pleated
cheer leading skirts to elastic waist pants. She was knocking on thirty’s door
and she wanted to make sure that when it opened, a healthier, happier human was
on the other side to greet it.

Focused and determined, Michelle made a
plan. She established goals that were measurable and achievable, and she
resolved to attain them in a realistic time frame. Michelle adopted a “no
excuses” mantra and revisited it often, especially on early mornings when her
alarm clock’s snooze button looked much more desirable than a Tone Zone dvd, or
when a frosted, flaky pastry seemed to appeal to her palette much more than an
egg white omelet with tomatoes and spinach. Michelle disciplined herself to
stay the course, stick with her plan and continue visualizing the woman she
wanted to be even before she knew her.

Her newly adopted regimen of eating
healthfully and exercising, extended well past the proven sixty-six days it
takes to form a new habit. Michelle loved her new-found energy, adored her
younger wardrobe, and took pride in the appearance of a woman twenty pounds
lighter smiling back at her from her full length mirror three and a half months
after she decided to make a positive change in her life. In her head, Michelle
knew she may never again be the hundred ten pound cheerleader jumping from the
top of the pyramid into the arms of fellow squad members. But in her heart,
Michelle jumped with the joy daily of knowing that she did not have to be stuck
in a body and lifestyle that hindered her spirit. She was healthy and she was
active, and that was something to cheer about a decade past high school, and
for decades to come.

Mary Marcia Brown is an
author and founder of Studio Fitness and the PACE Personal Training
Certification program. Find out more about PACE by visiting www.studiofitness.vpweb.com. Get
DAILY FIT FACTS by liking Studio Fitness on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Studio-Fitness/327883567232625
and read Mary Marcia’s Women Without Children electronically or in paperback http://www.amazon.com/Women-Without-Children-Marcia-Brown/dp/1468136496/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1328445686&sr=1-1-catcorr.