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Excerpt Five: Giving Birth to the New Me

From the book "From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction" by Carole Carson

Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is.

—Erich Fromm

Gayle convinced me to experiment with resistance equipment in the weight room at the gym. She assured me that resistance training would help me regain my college figure. Too many women, she told me, think that lifting weights and using resistance machines are the sole province of men. Or even worse, that if a woman lifts weights, she will bulk up, just as men do.

But that notion was wrong, she reassured me. Lifting weights and working with resistance equipment had a different effect on women's bodies—it sculpted our figures and made us firm and trim.

Although I needed no further encouragement, she told me that in addition to altering the overall symmetry of my body, it would increase my metabolic rate. Fat would be more quickly metabolized, and lean muscle mass would be acquired in ways that even aerobic exercise couldn't match.

Had it not been for this coaching, I would never have worked out in the weight room. I continued to feel a little out of place among the machines and sweaty men, but the benefits were irresistible.

I still looked like a blimp in the weekly photos, but I was gaining confidence as well as momentum.

Even so, I awoke in the middle of the night wanting to run away. I had to remind myself that 2 a.m. was not the best time to make an important decision. By morning, more of me wanted to continue than to go back. One day at a time, I told myself.

This week I also did something I had never done before: I signed up for a 5-km walk/run, called the Clydesdale, an event that would be held a month later at the county fairgrounds. It was Gayle's idea—in fact, she insisted. I was sure I wouldn't be ready for it. Still, I could feel a secret excitement growing. What other opportunities had I passed over because I didn't think I was ready? Maybe getting fit was about more than just losing weight. Maybe it was about opening up to new possibilities. Still, I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of everyone. Would I be ready?

Next: Carole counts the cost.

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