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Focusing on Fitness

In high school, I was a cheerleader, a basketball player and a track runner. Since I was always active, I didn't have to worry about my weight. After high school, I taught aerobics classes and my weight stayed around 135 pounds.

My weight problem started during my first pregnancy: I didn't pay attention to what I ate or how I exercised, and by the time I delivered I was up to 198 pounds. Since I didn't exercise regularly or eat healthfully, it took me three years to lose 60 pounds and return to my pre-pregnancy weight. A year later, I went through another pregnancy and my weight rose to 192 pounds.

After the delivery, I knew I didn't want to wait another three long, unhappy years to return to my pre-pregnancy size. Six weeks after my daughter's arrival, I set a goal to exercise and eat right in order to reach 130 pounds.

I assessed my diet and found it was very high in calories and fat. I tracked my calorie and fat intake by recording what I ate each day in a food diary. I cut back on high-fat processed junk foods, added healthier dishes full of fruits, vegetables, fiber and grains, and drank lots of water.

I also exercised three times a week. I started by doing 15 minutes of an aerobics video and gradually moved up to doing 45 minutes a session. To boost my metabolism, I began weight training. Again, I started off slowly and increased my time and weight as I became stronger. Eventually, I gave up smoking, which, along with the food and exercise changes, increased my energy level, and I was able to keep up with the demands of two young children.

Along with the scale, I used a pair of post-pregnancy size 14 jeans to track my progress. A year and a half after my second pregnancy, I reached my goal and fit into a pair of size 5 jeans.

Writing down my fitness goals was the key to my success. Whenever I felt unmotivated to exercise, seeing my goals in writing inspired me to keep going. I knew as soon as I exercised, I'd feel 100 percent better and I'd be a step closer to reaching my goal.

After I reached my pre-pregnancy weight, my next goal was to become a certified personal trainer. I fulfilled that goal and now I teach several aerobics classes a week. I've just started running, and I'm working toward entering a local race. I know that with training, I'll do it. I know I can do anything when I set my mind to it.

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