Catherine before and after

Lost: 20 lbs.
I believe we are always works in progress. That can mean that we wish we were a little thinner, smarter, stronger, richer, healthier -- and miss out on the gifts we have in the here and now. It can also mean that life will never be boring because we'll always have a goal to keep us motivated.  I have to admit that I vacillate between the two states as far as my body is concerned.  There are days when I would much rather be a work of art than a work in progress, but I have two things that talk me out of my tree when I find I am starting the negative thought loop. One: I am lucky to be a mother. Two: I am lucky to have a great trainer.

When I got pregnant, I was at my top weight after three years of frustration and fertility treatments. None of it mattered when I saw that plus sign on a pee stick. I was also destined to be one of those women who looks like she is going to have triplets by month six. I didn't care: my pregnancy was the biggest gift I have ever had and I loved every minute of it. After I gave birth, I loved being a mother.

I did not love that I was wildly overweight and so out of shape I couldn't walk a flight of stairs without breathing hard. Worse, I got tired if I carried my baby for more than 20 minutes in a sling.

That had to change.

When I first started taking classes at The Studio (MDR), I couldn't do a single push-up or sit-up. But I had determination on my side -- that, and some great teachers. Jessi would laugh at me for complaining. She still does. Ky was a force of nature. He still is. If I am struggling in his class (and somehow I am always struggling, because the stronger I get, the harder his classes gets -- how does he do that?) I only have to watch him bounce around the room like an energizer bunny feeding off an unlimited battery of positivity to get my second wind. It's contagious.

The best part is that I am now strong; I love that.I don't mind that I have lost 20 pounds, either.

Part of me realizes that I will never again have that super-strong, super-slender body of my 20s. A friend recommended taking this perspective: Think of how you felt about your body when it was at its best, perhaps in your 20s. Not many of us were kind to ourselves then. There are definitely times that I look back on that my young self and wish I had appreciated what I had then. And that reminds me to appreciate what I have now. I work almost full-time and I am a mother of a toddler so I have very little time to squeeze in a workout. I make it to class three times a week on average. This workout is so effective, that's all I need to be almost as strong as I was when I was a 20-year-old dancer. That's on three 50-minute sessions a week -- and it's served up with a smile.

I have so much gratitude for The Studio (MDR). The entire team works so hard to create a community that is friendly, fun, supportive and very, very motivating. And that's an amazing gift. Thank you.