Old Lady Yoga

April 20, 2018



Old Lady Yoga Class


The invitation came over text and it was very tempting. I love sweet treats, so meeting a friend for a chat and chocolate was a hard one to turn down.

nope, can't today. i have old lady yoga. but thank u! ❤️

what's old lady yoga?

yoga. at the library.

with old ladies?

just one...

I haven't exercised in years, but nobody seems to get that...no matter how many times I explain it. They see me, tall and thin, and just assume that I am fit as well. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

I hate exercise. I've never been good at it. As a kid I was the last one to wheeze over the finish line during gym class and the first one to need a rest after kickline practice. I have a bum stomach, terrible allergies and bad lungs. Those things don't mix well with fitness training. They just make everything harder.

My mom was almost forty when I was born and her mom was forty when she was born. I alway joke that I was born broken, I'm an old egg, from an old egg. It sounds like a logical explanation.

It's much better than I'm lazy.

Which I most certainly am not.

I don't nap. I have a super clean house, I cook, I write, I run a small business, I have chaired committees, PTA, taught Sunday school, made theater costumes, I chauffeur people around, take care of the household finances, grocery shop and do laundry. And sometimes all in the same day.

Alright. I don't cook every day.

But when it comes to exercise. I just can't. Yes, yes, I know it's good for me and may even make me feel better in the long run, but getting started is scary. So I look for every excuse in the book and for the last several years, between my mom's illness and raising kids, it was easy to come up with one.

It wasn't a big deal, really, until I turned fifty a few months ago. Suddenly waking up was a monumental feat. I was sore getting out of bed. My back hurt from lifting laundry baskets and there were days when ~ honestly ~ a walk around the block was beyond my capabilities. I kid you not.

Knowing I couldn't remedy the situation easily, I simply avoided the thoughts, dealt with the aches and pains and complained to my husband a lot. That was something I became very good at...

Then one day, the library newsletter showed up with a class that sparked my interest, Gentle Yoga. Hmmm.


Gentle Yoga



The words were right, I mean it was barely exercise, and I knew the instructor. She and I had been friends for years and she was a sweet soul. I seriously contemplated signing up. I cut the description out of the paper, wrote the sign up date on my calendar.

And conveniently forgot all about it.

Several weeks later, while picking up a few books, I heard the librarian registering someone over the phone and in a moment of sheer insanity, I signed up. I regretted it almost immediately.

There was no way I could do yoga. I did yoga, twenty years ago. I knew what it was about. I was a mess now. I was going to throw out my back. I was going to hurt myself and worst of all, I was going to do it all in front of people I knew in a town I'd lived in all my life. And what if they were all yoga masters? What was I thinking?
You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.

Of course there was no sympathy at home, even though I had a pretty solid list of why going was absolutely impossible. For one thing, I think I'm the only woman in America who does not own a pair of yoga pants. That alone should've excused me.

But it didn't. The rest of my list fell on deaf ears, too.

It's yoga. In chairs. You'll be fine. 

I entered the room full of anxiety, but when I saw the chairs lined up, one for everyone, I did feel a little better. I also recognized a friend, almost no one was wearing yoga pants, in fact some of the ladies were wearing jewelry. Big chunky costume jewelry. 

And, most importantly, I was the youngest person in the room. By over a decade. Suddenly it was all very clear...this was old lady yoga. I was going to be fine.

As we sat in the chairs and started the routine, an innate sense of superiority took over. Roll of the neck, twist of the back. Easy peasy. Look at me go.

Yeah, it was all well and good for the first five minutes of class until I realized that everyone in the room was outperforming me...even the ladies with walkers.

Alright, maybe not walkers, but I know I saw a cane.

Either way, I was suddenly the oldest lady in the room.

They were all downward dogging on their mats, while I was trying to arch my back in the chair without wincing. It was a pitiful sight. When I did stand up, I fell over in mountain pose. Mountain pose! I mean you literally just stand there. It was pathetic. I was pathetic. How did I let this happen?

The good thing is I'm very used to laughing at myself, so I did.

That didn't go over very well either. These ladies were serious. The instructor was warm and funny, but those practicing around me gave me the "no chewing gum in class" look.

Forty five sore and humbling minutes later, I got to lie down for our last pose. For that, I went to the mat, since it was basically a nap and by that time I desperately needed one. Even then I spent the entire time I should've been lost in mindfulness, wondering how I was going to get up off the floor when we were done.

At the end of class, I gathered my purse, my mat, my dignity and quietly hobbled out of the library, careful not to make eye contact with anyone. It took me a solid four days to recover.

When I went back on Wednesday, the instructor greeted me with an enthusiastic you're back! I guess there was some doubt.

This time, I was determined to be better. I still wasn't wearing yoga pants and I was still the absolute least capable one in the room.

But I showed up.

And I did yoga.

Not bad.

For an old lady.

Do you exercise?

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60 comments:

  1. Smiling ear to ear . . .
    Writing is your “gift!”

    I am so far away from my yoga days . . . I need it . .
    Chair, “old lady” . . . may work . . .

    The getting back up off the floor thought is the “cringe” . . .
    Maybe when I can laugh at myself again . . . I will go!

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    1. Thank you, Lynne…I really do enjoy storytelling best. Of course, less embarrassing stories may be more fun…for me at least!!

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  2. I’m laughing so hard, Kim. I cannot do yoga, but last June I did start an exercise program. My daughter is a Beach Body coach who encouraged me, threatened me. I actually started to enjoy it and lost 30 pounds. I hope to start back May1. (I’m able to walk now, but no impact workouts until much later.)
    When I read yoga at the library, I thought you meant the ups and downs of picking books off the shelves!!

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    1. Wow, 30 pounds? That's amazing, good for you...and good for your daughter. My kids have been after me for a long time, too. I hope you get back to it soon. And yes, up and down at the bookshelves would be much less stressful...although I would still be cracking up and down!! 😉

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  3. Lynne is right. but then you know that. and we're so glad you share that gift!
    i discovered yoga when i was in my very early 20's. i practiced daily for over three decades.
    even through Bob's illness. my teacher once was Indian and he was wonderful. it's probably what saved my sanity during that time. his name was Nandlal Yohari and he was amazing.
    after Bob died i simply stopped practicing it. but in the many last years i have kept doing stretching of my arms and neck and that has kept them flexible. i've had to give up the inverted poses due to hypertension. but i hope to soon remedy that. once you learn them do them at home too.
    yoga is the single most important thing you'll ever do ... to stay limber and joyful. and young.
    the thing i love about it is that you're not competing with ANYONE! even those old ladies in your class that didn't feel the joy in it. you go at YOUR pace. no one else's. it's a gradual thing. next thing you know you will be doing the downward facing dog with the best of them. but who CARES? just smile your wonderful joie de vivre smile and offer them some gum! XOXO

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    1. Thank you, Tammy. ❤️ And I appreciate all of your words on yoga and wow, 30+ years? You must be a master. I did have fun and I do feel better now that I have been twice. The instructor is wonderful encouraged me to take a picture of her pose list and try them at home, as you suggested. And I think you're right, maybe next time I will bring gum for everyone. The big pink bubbly kind...💕

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  4. Good Morning Kim. Ohhhhhh I am laughing not at you but with you on this one. I have been on a routine of eating better and trying to take some winter pounds off and exercise. I hate exercise too. It is just not me. I am trying to establish a new life style routine that I can stick with. I know even though I am getting my butt on the elliptical to try and shed the lbs, it probably won't last in the "new lifestyle" changes. I hate exercise!!!! So that elliptical that usually that stares at me every time I go downstairs has established a relationship with me for now. I wish I could find an old lady yoga around by me. I think that could be fun and something I could look forward too. I am glad you went back and are continuing to try. Sounds perfect. Have a good weekend.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Machines terrify me, Kris! I give you major kudos for your attempts. I saw a comic meme last night that showed a woman next to an elliptical and she said, “Does it count as exercise if all you do is dust the machine?” hahaha. That would be me. And that yoga class is just one more reason to wish we lived closer. We could go and laugh through it together!! xoxo

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  5. Wish I could find an "old lady yoga" class! In my rural area they do offer a rumba class. Ha. At 75 and bad knees don't think I'll be doing that! But I wish I could. You go girl.

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    1. Oh my…rumba? No. I would never be able to handle that either!! Thanks for the encouragement…and I hope you find a class!! 😊

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  6. Kim, I am laughing because I can relate to your predicament. Keep at it and we'd love to hear about your progress. You are an excellent wordsmith! Actually, our local Y has a "chair yoga" class, which I am guessing is very much the same. Right now the Urban Farmer and I are walking daily(ish) and cleaning out garden beds. I have a sign hanging in the entryway: "Does running late count as exercise?"

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    1. Thank you so much, Donna!! I love knowing that I made you laugh. That is the best compliment you could share with me. I have to look into a class like that at our Y, because this one ends soon and I would like to continue. And I LOVE your sign. If that was the case, man I would be in awesome shape!!! ☺️

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  7. Love your writing style! I am almost 65 and though I was an avid tennis player for many years I have not picked up a racket in about 3 years. I need to get back out there lol.

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    1. My mom was a great tennis player, Penny and was always in good shape because of it. I envy that. I say grab the racket and play!! ☺️

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  8. We should be neighbors - You made my day! I feel ya...I'm in my 50's too and desperately need to start exercising. My problem is that I also have vertigo...downward dog would land me flat on my face! LOL

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    1. Oh my goodness, Ann, I hear you. Anything upside down made me so dizzy. I really thought I was going to pass out. I said no to those poses. I just sat quietly in my chair. I don't think anyone noticed. They were all looking the floor! 😉

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  9. Old Lady Yoga and you're the youngest in the class.....ha! I've always wanted to try yoga and this would be my speed. I do exercise daily by walking my dogs for a good half hour or more. I'm tall, too, but not slim at the moment. Working on it through WW. You sound plenty busy with your life and that's activity! Just keep moving is the key to staying young! (Well that, and a bit of chocolate every day.)

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    1. Kathy, I am eating chocolate as I type! How did you ever know? 😉

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  10. I do yoga stretching. Life is exercise, isn't it?
    Brenda

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  11. This post made me laugh out loud! Yes, I do exercise - not only to keep the weight off, but to keep healthy in general. I'll be 56 this year and the older I get, the more I realize how important it is to keep healthy and fit. Ish. ;-) My mom is 78 years old and still exercises every day (and eats very healthy). She has no health problems whatsover, so she's a good example to me.

    I always hated exercise, too. When I was a little girl, I'd only be wanting to read or play with my dolls. My mom used to make me go outside and play, which was a good thing because then I'd ride my bike or rollerskate or jump on my pogo stick or play Four Square or baseball with the neighborhood kids. So I think if we can find an activity that we actually enjoy, then it doesn't really seem like exercise. Let's face it - if we say we're going to do something like play tennis and we don't like tennis, we aren't going to stick with it.

    So I do try to take a walk (a mile) most days and I also practice yoga every single day at home. I used to take regular weekly classes, but I got out of that habit when I had my knee surgery last year. I now only go to a class once in awhile. I need to get back into gear with that one! At least I still do it at home every day, huh? It keeps my back pain at bay, and keeps me a little stronger and definitely more limber and not so stiff.

    I also lift light weights and do wall push-ups and squats every 2-3 days.

    Great post!

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    1. Melanie, you sound like you have a great plan and like you’re in great shape. I need to work on it. The class at the library has ended and I find myself saying now what? I guess I could try to do it at home, until I find a replacement class, but I’m not sure I have enough knowledge to trust myself with a tape or video….and start walking once the tree pollen goes away. And I agree with you, the older we get the more important fitness becomes… 🙂

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  12. Oh this post is hilarious!! Not laughing at you, by any means. Just so comical, once again your writing has made me see everything happen. And you know what is also so funny? When I read the blue square at the top of the post about old lady yoga at the library, I immediately thought you were referring to reaching for books on a high shelf!! LOL!

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    1. Ha! You're not the only one Kathy. Other people said the same thing...bending and stretching for those books. Honestly, even that would be a challenge for me lately! And I am so glad you laughed...that was the whole point of this tale. 🙂

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  13. I am the other only woman not to own yoga pants lol! I have tried exercising over the years but never stick to it. I will be 54 next month and have gained 10 pounds this winter. I know I need to do something but I too have this fear of exercising around other people and looking stupid. Thank you for sharing and putting yourself out there for your readers. We all have similar fears that we think are all our own so it's so encouraging to hear we are not alone.

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    1. Pam, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I am exactly where you are. My husband always says, "come to the gym with me" but I don't want others watching me fail. I know they are probably not interested in me at all, but you know, I don't even want to take the chance! The yoga class was fun though. I need to continue!

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  14. Liked this post. Thanx.

    I once joined a gym in order to lose weight. After six months I did not lose any weight at all. No one told me I had to attend and take part in exercise.

    God bless.

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    1. Ha! That's how I feel Victor. It would be lovely if just joining did the trick! Thanks for the visit.

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  15. Oh so funny!!! You are a gifted writer I must say! I tried yoga once and felt stupid since I know I looked all wrong. I think I don't have the flexibility. :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Angela! What a lovely compliment. I am smiling ear to ear. I’m not very flexible either. I feel so silly when I am stretching. The class is over now, but I really need to sign up again…

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  16. You know Kim sometimes I think you must be my twin. But unlike you everyone knows I don't exercise. Haha. I try to go walking as much as possible, that is when I can tear myself away from the blog and now my son bought a treadmill so I really have no excuse. The only one left is that I need to fit it into my schedule. You go girl! Wake up all those muscles.

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    1. Mary, I wish you lived closer! We could walk and blog together. Maybe we could blog standing up. Does that count as exercise? Hahaha.

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  17. I don't do yoga, don't own yoga pants, but I do exercise. Getting there is half the battle. Congrats on getting there! And force yourself to keep going. That's what I do, and I'm always glad. You don't want to end up like one of those little old ladies that can barely move in their 80's.

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    1. I certainly do not...especially since I am almost there now at 50!

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  18. How funny. Sorry to say I don't own Yoga pants either. Hated PE at school. Couldn't play sports. I rather tell people I have a great mind. I have a free membership to Silver Sneakers and just can't commit. Don't get me wrong, for a senior citizen, I am in good shape from gardening and raising kittens. Five litters. The last four run thru the house playing Cowgirls and Indians at top speed while I catch flying objects.
    Myrna

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    1. Gardening and raising kittens sounds like the kind of exercise I want to do!! Lucky you, Myrna! Sign me up!!

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  19. You did it! That is more than I can say. I did try yoga at home and quickly blew out my heels resulting in planters fasciitis. Never again! My daughter wants me to go to her personal trainer but I won't because failing is not something I wake up wanting to do. I am happy with my little routine of stretches and situps and arm exercises, thank you very much! If it doesn't hurt too much stick with it!!

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    1. That's my motto, too, AnnMarie...if it doesn't hurt, I'm in. Unfortunately, lately everything hurts!! 😉

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  20. You had me in stitches this morning.

    I've always got my exercise from swimming, cycling and tennis. But, my arthritis became so bad that I could no longer hold a tennis racket and that was the same time that Steve had his shoulder replaced. With neither of us able to play tennis any longer, we gave up our tennis club membership and that meant I no longer had an indoor swimming pool to do my laps all year long at night. We walk daily, kayak a couple of times a month and cycle regularly. But, I've just started an exercise class because my nearly 70 year old body is fighting me these days.
    If you like to dance, Zumba is a great workout and really fun.

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    1. I do love dancing, Carol. Maybe I should start there!!

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  21. Oh Kim I am sorry but I am howling at this post. My favorite things to say about exercise....'I work very hard to look this bad' & 'I exercise just enough to stay in pain'.

    I am with you in that I absolutely hate exercise. But I grew up in a family of morbidly obese people except for my bean-pole dad....& I was devastated when I realized I did not inherited those genes. So I've always fought those genes in a one step up & two steps back battle. Still, you have to laugh about it. another favorite quote I say often to keep me going.....'At least I'm lapping the couch sitters!'. I have a whole collection of them to keep me motivated.

    I will say as the years pass I do seem to at least appreciate exercise more & maybe even enjoy it when it's over. I've fought a life-long battle against my body & I think I will eventually lose. I'm actually in physical therapy right now & the massages are definitely something I look forward to. The stretches bore me to tears but I'm learning force myself to relax & loosen tight muscles that cause all of my problems in the first place.

    I sure wish I could go to your class with you!

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    1. I wish you could go to class with me, too, Jenny!! It would be nice to have a friend. And I'm glad you're howling. It makes me happy to know that other people get it. It was funny. I was a mess and am working on it, but I still think it will always be funny, because of who I am. I am not athletic and there's no way around that one!!

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  22. Lovely to read your post.
    Yoga is always something I've been meaning to do but haven't yet!

    It is important to take regular exercise ... I enjoy walking.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks so much, Jan! I really am enjoying, but man, it's hard!!

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  23. Yes that pain when you wake up in the morning is definitely eye opening! When you realize that even though you feel young inside, it's not all going to stay that way....it's humbling! I was really into exercise Zumba and Piyo for a couple of years but I hurt myself and the awesome teacher had the nerve to move! For the last two years I've done nothing. n.o.t.h.i.n.g. I'd love to try yoga but like you said, it's intimidating. I went once a few years ago and it was quiet/meditative. I'm more of a laugh out loud kind of girl. We all just have to find what works for us. You've motivated me!!

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    1. It was way worse this week, Stacey. A good friend of mine is a yoga instructor and she was there to assist. Every time we glanced at one another we giggled. It was not good!! And yet it made class way more fun. I told her to come over and teach me in my kitchen. We can laugh there all we want!!

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  24. You are cracking me up! I've thought about yoga many times and I even have a closet full of yoga pants (that have never been to an actual yoga class) It's amazing how much stretching exercises can wear you out. I recently got a new app...the 7 minute workout. Let me just tell you...I haven't done a "wall sit" exercise in a long time and those 30 seconds were brutal! Lol! I'm not even going to tell you how pitiful my "plank" was. Ha ha!

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    1. Oh my gosh, Lisa! I tried a plank once, a few years ago when my kids were doing it in gym class. It lasted about six seconds and I thought I was going to die. This is much better, but still tough. I am making my way through it, but man, even with stretching, no pain, no gain still applies!!

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  25. Such a fun post, Kim! I think we call can relate. I've done Zumba for years but I prefer to exercise at home, rather than go to classes. My daughter loves yoga and I've been feeling the need for the stretches, so I may be adding a gentle version myself ;)

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    1. Zumba! Yikes that is hardcore, Cecilia! You must be in great shape. I would like to add a little bit of that to my routine, but right now stretching is stretching me to the limit!

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    1. Thanks Deb! The only way to get through this stuff is to laugh...

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  27. I need old lady yoga! Good for you for going!

    I add my praises with the others, for your writing skills!

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    1. Thank you, Deanna. Writing is definitely my passion...and much less stressful than yoga! Ha!

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  28. Kim, are you kidding me? Of course I don't. I used to, did jazzercise, was always first to finish a race in grammer school, and rode my bike around the block, many times. When we had Buddy, Jerry used to walk him all over town at least twice a day. It was usually too hot or too cold for me to go with!! Although I was asked many times! Now that Kai has issues with his back, he can't walk as far so I have been going with them every evening. So far it hasn't been too bad and I find I do sleep better. One of the perks of old age is that it is a good excuse! xxoJudy

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    1. I remember jazzercise!! I never did it, but my mom and sisters did. I really need to start walking again. It’s pretty easy and I can do it at my own pace. My friends tell me I should get a dog. I tell them they’re crazy…but sounds like you have the perfect walking partners! xoxo

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  29. Hi Kim,
    You wrote this so well. I do walk daily. In all honesty it can be hard to fit everything in. You are right, exercise can be last on the list.
    Are you still going to class? How are you feeling?
    Thank you for sharing,
    Carla

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    1. I am going to class! I actually really enjoy it...although some weeks are great and I can do a lot and others not so much. BUT I go...I think that's the important part!! At least I hope so!

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  30. It’s official. I hate you.

    Why? Because yes, I do exercise. I can do 50 push-ups without breaking a sweat, and not the kind that some women, ahem, do that look more like downward dogs ;), my planks are kick ass and I can easily touch my toes and have several inches to spare, and after a quick warm up I can spread my legs and bend forward and touch the floor with my chest (of course, it doesn’t hurt that I’m a D cup and just to be clear I AM on the floor).

    So why do I hate you? Because you’re tall and thin, and I’m short and round. I invented the term ‘muffin top’. If a swift wind hits me, you can bet my chicken arms are gonna smack you in the face and if my ass was any lower I’d never have to dust my floors. And I have an embarrassing amount of stock in calamine lotion. It’s the only product that helps the rash I get from my thighs rubbing together.

    So you haven’t exercised in decades and you’re rockin’ those skinny jeans like Giselle Bundgen? You better start running girl because I’m coming over and my wings are gonna slap you into next week just on principal.

    Oh wait, you can’t run. Let’s just go out for some cannolis instead.


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    1. I would love to argue with you, Doreen and tell you all the reasons why I hate you and your perfectly in shape body and fabulous athletic ability…but from your comment, I’m pretty sure you could easily take me. So I won’t. Instead, I will take you up on your cannoli offer. I’ll even treat. It’s my all time favorite dessert ~ how ever did you know? 😉

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