Friday, August 28, 2009

A Happy Decision - 19th Story

Last week I informed you of a hard choice I had to make regarding Boot Camp. Oshun, one of my trainers had left the YMCA. She has taken a position with Schnebly’s Winery where she will probably do some healthy cooking as well as run the Warriors of Wine Boot Camp. Nestor and Rico, my other favorite trainers, were still at the YMCA for me and I love working out with them. All three have supported me from day one in January when I placed that first call to Rico. I had to decide where to continue and I can honestly say that I have lost sleep over the decision and had a good cry over it as well.

Although everyone was telling me that they would support me and be there for me no matter what, I still felt like I was being pulled like salt water taffy on the stretching machine that I watched in the window on the boardwalk of Wildwood, New Jersey as a kid. After stretching and molding, I would watch it come down the chute into the boxes. I felt like everyone was just standing and watching me being pulled and waiting to see into which box I would land. Who would I disappoint?

It was obvious at work and at home that I was in agony over having to choose. Finally my husband set me straight by telling me, “Forget everyone else and do what is good for Doris.” It was then that I again realized that I was letting my Fat Lady Syndrome (FLS) rule me. I was trying to please everyone else, forgetting about my own needs, because being a fat lady you don’t feel you deserve to think about yourself. Who was I writing these articles for? Not for the YMCA! Not for an individual trainer! Not for the paper! I am writing them as therapy for me! ME! DORIS!

I had given myself until this past Sunday evening to make my decision, but after a few phone calls on Friday after work, a thought began swirling around in my mind that scared the devil out of me. I really felt like I have been in a small rut with my exercising lately and maybe needed a change of some sort. Could I really do what I was thinking? I then made a call to Oshun and posed a question to her and told her I wanted an honest answer. I asked Oshun, “You know where I am fitness wise. Do you think I could honestly do Boot Camp five days a week?” Oshun’s answer to me was an immediate, “Definitely!” I told her of my plan but wanted to confirm it with others.

I then made a call to Rico, one of my trainers at the YMCA. I confirmed with Rico that Tuesday and Thursday is a Boot Camp option with the Y and he also confirmed that he thought I could do the five days. All of a sudden I thought I heard trumpets playing and angels singing! A huge wave of relief washed over me like a tidal wave! I think my heart skipped a few beats as I realized that I had finally found a way that I can keep my connection with all of my trainers and the YMCA. I made a decision two days ahead of schedule and I made the decision for me!
This session, I will be a Warrior of Wine on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays by attending Oshun’s Boot Camp at Schnebly’s Winery. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will be under the punishing eyes of Nasty Nestor and Rambo Rico at the YMCA Boot Camp. Yes, believe it or not, this 54 year old obese woman, 280 pounds of her, will be working out at Boot Camps five days a week. Yes. I said five!

This is a life changing decision. I have gone from being sedentary and doing absolutely nothing to working out three times a week. Am I crazy to even think that I can possibly exercise five days a week? Can I really get up at 5 a.m., five days a week and exercise for an hour prior to starting my day at work? Will my body survive the grueling training or will I have a cellulite meltdown? Am I kidding myself that I can do this? I have got to try for me! Time will tell and I hope this will definitely add to my articles as I will write about both experiences each week.
Warriors of Wine started this week and I have already attended the sessions. On September 9th, the YMCA Boot Camp will begin. This has also taken care of my worries for the weeks in between Boot Camps as I only had one week off.

Boot Camp registration is taking place now no matter where you would like to go. Get up! Do it for you! I’m learning that maybe I do deserve to think about myself!
I am a recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp and Schnebly’s Warriors of Wine and I am beginning to believe that I am doing all of this for Doris!

Friday, August 21, 2009


As many of you remember, I have discussed many of the trainers in Boot Camp. I have told you of their personalities and caring. Ariel Concepcion, known as “Rico”, Nestor Villageliu and Oshun Marcella have been the main trainers and my strong support trio.

Rambo Rico, is the trainer who pushes me to my extreme most limits and has a loud, wild way about him. You can hear Rico a mile away and he needs no megaphone. Rico’s devilish smile runs from ear to ear and I believe Rico gets high on seeing me in pain! The more pain I show, the more he pushes me further. You look at his face and just know that he is thinking ahead to another sadistic way that he can try this fat woman’s body. As I stated before, I hated Rico the first two weeks and did not think I would ever go back voluntarily to his class. Slowly, his loudness and methods grew on me. I like the fact that if the group was going to run two miles, he expected me to at least complete the two miles whether speed walking or running. I was not exempt and I appreciated his strong support of my efforts. He was the coach who always had the others cheering for me. Sweet sadistic Rico!

Nasty Nestor used to be called the Youngster by me because of his sweet young age. I have since changed his name as his work-outs are nasty and like Rico, he is always pushing my body to places it hasn’t been in years. Nestor is constantly bullying and taunting me in a way that I just love. “Doris. Are you going to let me beat you? Are you going to give up?” He waits to hear me swear in my Boot Camp language, “frick and frack and frick and frack” because he then knows that he is pushing me hard. In the pool during class I will see these little beady eyes pop up out of the water staring at me. Yep…Nasty Nestor! It was in Nasty Nestor’s session of mountain climber exercises that I pulled the muscle in my leg and had to go to the hospital. You would think his guilt would eat away at him but he keeps threatening me with more mountain climbers! Sweet young boy!

Oshun is the only woman trainer in the group. Oshun’s workouts are more involved with core and balance as well as aerobics. I was well into my sessions of Boot Camp before I met Oshun. At first, I did not think I could adjust to her exercise routines and really did not think I would continue in her classes as I was used to Rambo Rico and Nasty Nestor. After several sessions with her, I fell into sync and really felt at ease in her classes. Did she push me? Yes. I feel like I have made a very strong connection with Oshun. She has made me face many obstacles that have brought me to tears because she made me confront many many years worth of fears that a 54 year old obese woman had suppressed. My last breakthrough was in her last class. For the first time since I started the Boot Camp process in January, I was able to balance in positions that I could never hold before. I shocked myself and it was hard for me to believe that I was actually doing it. Picture me standing there crying over being able to balance! I often say in class, “For the record, please note that I am doing this.” because I often don’t believe it myself! It may just be a “woman thing” but I feel that Oshun cares about my entire self. She makes me feel like I can do anything and should darn well try. She makes this woman feel like she wants to fight her way out of the fat cocoon that encases her soul. Sweet, sensitive Oshun!

Summer Y Train has ended and I now have a few weeks between Boot Camps. These weeks are always hard for me but this time, I have the added stress of having to make a choice regarding Boot Camp. This 54 year old obese woman does not like to be presented with choices. I like things planned and orderly and this is causing great pain.

My support trio is breaking up. You see, Oshun is leaving the YMCA. She has taken a position with Schnebly’s Winery where she will probably do some healthy cooking as well as run a Warriors of Wine Boot Camp. This is a wonderful move for her and a great addition to Schnebly’s. Now I have to decide where to continue and my heart is stretching me like Gumby in two different directions.

Living west out by the Everglades, I can easily make it to Schnebly’s to exercise and home to shower prior to work. Maybe I can take my wine glass with me and get my free glass of wine every day also! Never thought of that perk till now!

On the other hand, the YMCA was there to accept this 54 year old obese woman into their Boot Camp Program and made me feel welcome and comfortable. The entire staff, from Anna, the receptionist who greets me at 5:30 a.m. to the lifeguards, everyone makes me feel like I am cared for. I am still aiming to be a poster girl for the Y and not just the fat lady before shot!
What will I do? I have to make a choice by next week and I’ll let you know but there is something I need to tell you all.

Boot Camp registration is taking place now. Don’t think you can’t do it. Get up off your chair and make the move. I am a 54 year old woman who is well over 100 pounds overweight and have lived a sedentary lifestyle but I am proud to say that I have just completed my fourth Boot Camp. If I can do it, you have no excuse!

The new session of Boot Camp will begin at the YMCA on September 9th, 2009.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Summer Session Ends!
Doris D. Meneses

My summer session of Boot Camp is coming to a close. Friday the 14th is our last day and Saturday will be our picnic and awards. Every recruit gets a certificate for successfully completing the Boot Camp and over the past several sessions, I have received a Most Dedicated Recruit award and the Most Improved Recruit award. If there was an award for Most Insane Recruit, I know I would get it hands down! Hoorah!

The new session of Boot Camp will not begin again until September so now I am pondering what I am going to do in order to stay at the level I am at now and not backslide like I have in the past. I am not one who will exercise by myself. Those two or three weeks between sessions have proven deadly to me purely because of laziness and food.

Yes I am lazy. I admit it. I would prefer to stay in bed until 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. rather than get up at 5:00 to be at the YMCA at 6:00 to exercise. On top of that, most of my work days are a minimum of ten hours and most times longer due to my work load. My mom says, “Sissy. Evidently you spend too much time fooling around or you would be done your work.” I think she still believes I am in grade school. In addition to my job, I do my husband’s bookkeeping for his business and try to find time to sew or craft which is my attempt at staying sane! In the past, I have not been able to continue to exercise during the interim of Boot Camp. I am determined that this time, I will not let myself drift back into bad exercise habits. Lord, give me the strength to get up when the alarm goes off!

Food is my big downfall during the interim time. Exercising and food go hand in hand. You see, when I am exercising hard, I feel the pain and all those aches and pains are a constant reminder to stop when I go to eat something I shouldn’t. Food glorious food! Stress adds to that call of food.

Call of food? Yes. Food calls me my by name. It is up close and personal and often screams at me. It calls me from the racks of the grocery store. It calls me from my kitchen cupboard. It calls me from the candy jar at work.
I try hard to stick to the outside walls of the grocery store where I can ignore the bad things but then I have to check out. I hear little hisses as I stand there waiting to check out. “Pssst. Pssst.” I look and I see no one. I look at the clerk silently begging her to hurry up as I try to ignore the sounds and then I hear, “Psst….you know you want me. Pick me up. I’ll make you feel better. Psst. Here I am.” I struggle hard and keep my head forward and break out into a sweat but then, it must be a close friend calling me because I hear it call me by my nickname, “Sissy. I’m here. Get me!” I turn to see who it is and my heart is immediately filled with horror and desire at the same time! There it is. The dreaded chocolate! The worse culprits are peanut butter cups. When I am stressed I want to feast on delights such as peanut butter cups until I am in a sugar induced trance. Is there anything better? If you are in the grocery store during the next few weeks and you see a lady sweating in the check-out line who looks like she is in a trance and you hear her mumble, “Yeah though I walk through the aisle of death, I fear those pounds. My arm reacheth over to chocolate. My strength is fading,” just reach over and hit her with your rod or staff as she picks up the peanut butter cups. At that point, you will have realized that you have just been introduced to ME!

Can I survive the interim period? I honestly do not know. One of my greatest desires is to be able to afford a personal trainer during those weeks that I am off. Maybe one day I can make it my first priority. Right now I cannot. Life’s other demands have to come first.

In the meantime, I have told the editor that I did not know if people were bored reading about my struggle with obesity and maybe I should end the series. It has been good therapy for this 54 year old obese lady to put it out to the public and I am humbled by the outpouring of support that I have received. I only write what I know and what I experience. Life as an obese woman is not an easy life. Hopefully I will share more of my experiences with you and you will want to hear them. Please let me know how you feel about the continuation of the series.

I am a 54 year old obese recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp and I know for a fact that I still need to be there!

NOTE - Healthy Eating Seminar by Oshun that is open to the public at the YMCA on August 20th at 7 p.m. Cost is $15 to non-YMCA members and $10 to members. Please register ahead of time by calling the YMCA at 305-248-5189. See you there!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hey Abbott!

I know you are all wondering about my third aquatic session. It took three tries but I finally have a winner in the bathing suit division. I will no longer wear the Oompa Loompa Syndrome bathing suit wherein my skirt kept filling up like a balloon no matter what exercise I did. No appearances in the two piece tank top styled suit with the dreaded Droopy Drawer Syndrome. The suit that I tried last and thought would be horrible was by all accounts, the best!

That morning, I easily donned my flimsy one piece that had absolutely no support for the womanly figure. It was the cheapest of all my bathing suits and had the least amount of Spandex. Bulges were free to bulge. Fat was free to flow. Breasts were free to sag. After the last two experiences, I felt that I had to give it a shot so off to the YMCA I went.

I was the first to go into the water and as I did, I wondered what would happen today. For the first time in three weeks, nothing seemed to be happening and I was thrilled. We started running, doing underwater dips along the ropes and kicking with kick boards. The Styrofoam noodles came out and we did leg crunches and all kinds of stretches. As I was doing the exercises, I realized that this suit was working out great. It seemed that I had my own personal flotation devices so the lack of support in the breast area was not an issue. It was a winner. I finished class feeling secure. Yes, my thighs were exposed but I didn’t care. I finally realized that no one was staring at my trunk thighs. No one was looking at my log arms. This day exuded success!

During this session of Boot Camp, I am seeing more changes for the good. My balance is improving. Before I just could not control my balance and it really bothered me. During one of last week’s classes, we were made to partner up with someone and lift our foot up into their hands that were at chest height and balance. Oshun paired me up with a young man in the class, Jose Blandon. I thought to myself, “Oh great. This young guy is probably going to be upset that he is paired up with the old lady.” I explained to Jose that I really did not think I could do this exercise. He calmly told me not to worry and that he didn’t know if he could do it as his balance was terrible as well. He told me, “Come on.” and held his hands low so I could get my foot into his grip. I was impressed with how supportive this young man was and how he immediately put me at ease and made me feel confident that he could support my weight and would not drop me. I did the exercise and I felt comfortable doing it. I was proud of that moment.

Also improving is my ability to hold my own weight. I stated before that I have gone from not being able to lift my body up into a plank position for a push up to being able to hold my body up. Now I am able to bend my arms, albeit slightly, toward doing a full push up. Sometimes I feel that I could do it but I know I would never make it back up and they would have to call for a crane to raise me up! Last week we ran a circuit and one of the exercises was to get on the mat with our elbows and forearms down, pushing our body up into a plank supported by our toes. From our elbows we had to move one arm at a time into a push up position and then back down one arm at a time. I did it and I did it many times.

Earlier, I was finally able to grasp both of my hands behind my back. This past week, I realized that I can now grasp them behind my back and raise them ever so slightly so they are not resting on my butt. You would have thought that I had won the lottery with that inch or so.

I know you may laugh at these simple moves and changes that most of you can do at any moment without thinking. I cannot do that. My body has been entombed for years in layers of fat that have suffocated my movement. My fitness life reminds me of that classic skit on Abbott and Costello or The Three Stooges. Slowly I turn. Step by step. Inch by inch. Many weeks I feel discouraged and depressed because I just am not losing weight or feeling any progress. Then out of the blue, my body will allow me to complete one of those simple moves.

Hey Abbott! Step by step. Inch by inch. I am a recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp and I know for a fact that I NEED TO BE THERE!

NOTE - Healthy Eating Seminar by Oshun that is open to the public at the YMCA on August 20th at 7 p.m. Cost is $15 to non-YMCA members and $10 to members. See you there!

Recruit Discovers White Meat, Pounds and Great Food!

During the third week of July, I attended my second aquatic session sans the Oompa Loompa bathing suit wherein my skirt kept filling up like a balloon no matter what exercise I did. Instead, I decided to wear the two piece tank top styled suit. Our trainer, Nick, started us off on the deck of the pool warming up. Leg lifts, stretches, squats and marching. Everything was going well until he told us to do 25 jumping jacks. I have finally gotten to the point where I can do about 15 jumping jacks before stopping and I’m pretty proud of that fact, but unfortunately, Nick did not realize that you do not make an obese old lady with a large chest, do jumping jacks in a bathing suit! My best friend and I looked at each other and laughed. We need our sports bras! Of course, being women, we improvised and criss-crossed our arms over our chest and did half jumping jacks.

Next we were instructed to get into the pool and upon entering the water, no balloon effect so my confidence grew. Nick stood on the deck of the pool and began. He instructed us first to do some knee lifts, etc. Once we were warmed up, he started the heavier aerobics and we were instructed to jog in the pool. I began a good jog only to panic. What was happening? I felt something really weird. Was it the balloon effect again? It couldn’t be. I was having some sort of bathing suit malfunction again. No, it wasn’t Oompa Loompa Syndrome; it was the dreaded Droopy Drawer Syndrome. As I jogged, my bathing suit top rode up and my bottoms fell down. I kept trying to jog and hold my shirt down and my pants on for dear life. At one point, I knew my entire torso was showing. Although this was underwater, I furiously yanked at my suit as I could just imagine what was visible from the deck of the pool. I am sure that the shock of all that white meat of my body being exposed, and there was a lot of it, blinded our morning lifeguards, Lauren DeBow and Candice Ray! I silently prayed that they would not stare too closely. Lauren and Candice have always been very supportive of my efforts even though they really don’t know me as well as the trainers. I am just thankful that they didn’t fall off the lifeguard stand laughing! I finished the class hanging on for dear life to the two parts of my bathing suit. This bathing suit was far worse than the Oompa Loompa suit!

The next day we had a weigh-in and a healthy cooking class given by Oshun, one of our trainers who is a healthy cooking chef. I knew the scales would not be in my favor after just coming back from two weeks on vacation. When I weighed in at the beginning of this session, the scales were at 280. I dreaded weigh-in this time but as my trainers, Rambo Rico and Nestor the Youngster, stood by, I stepped up on the scale. I just could not believe my eyes. The number climbed. Rico took the weight from the 250 mark and moved it to the 300 mark and the scale still did not balance. I know that rhubarb pie I had on vacation was not that fattening. What could be wrong? I could feel the red from embarrassment flowing into my cheeks. Don’t cry! Don’t sweat! According to the scale, I was weighing in at over 320 pounds. Can I hold back the tears much longer? This can’t be! Rico told me to step off so they could reset the scale. Again I stepped on and the numbers climbed to 330! Just as I was ready to cry, Rico started laughing. I didn’t know what was going on. Evidently Nasty Nestor had cleverly put his foot on the back of the scale while I was weighing in! Don’t they know they can give an old lady a heart attack? It was then that my boxing skills came into play and I pulled back and landed a good one on Nestor’s arm. I hope it hurt! Bottom line, I was up four pounds on the scale to 284 which isn’t good but I was sort of happy with that number after spending two weeks on vacation.

After the fright of weigh-in, I moved on to the healthy cooking class. I have attended several of Oshun’s workshops and each one presents new and interesting ideas. This workshop was nice as we had a very diverse group and the workshop was well attended. We sampled salsa, chutney, soy beans, chicken, dragon fruit, brown rice and much more. She made us try things we have never eaten in our lives and I was proud of myself that I didn’t die trying! Oshun stressed that we were all so much healthier when everyone cooked at home instead of indulging in fast food and we all know she is correct. Everyone went home with their bellies full and a lot more knowledge about the foods we eat.

After this week, I realized several things. The most obvious thing I learned is that although white meat is good for you, I am going to water test next week’s bathing suit so I don’t show all of mine! Will I ever have a normal day in the pool without bathing suit malfunctions? The second thing that was reinforced was the fact that the food I had ingested has resulted in pounds. I realized that I was on vacation however; I have become sloppy about what I am putting in my mouth. Because of the exercising, you may say that I have even become cocky about it and have been eating things or eating quantities that I know I should not be eating. It is time to get strict as exercising will not work without curtailing my food intake. Finally, I couldn’t be mad at Nestor or Rico for their prank because they did something I would have done. I love those guys and keep telling them that they should just admit that they love me because admitting it is half the battle!

I am a recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp and I know that even with wearing a malfunctioning bathing suit and scaring the trainers and lifeguards, I just might deserve to be there! Even more importantly, I am a recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp and I know for a fact that because of my eating habits, I NEED TO BE THERE!

The Battle of Spandex!

Friday morning of the first week presented a new experience in the summer session of Boot Camp. Fridays are aquatic day. This means that the recruits are to come ready to go in the pool.

The evening before aquatic day, I spent hours trying on the three bathing suits I have so that I could see which one shows the least amount of fat. Important questions raced through my mind. Do I wear the bathing suit with the skirt that hides my thunder thighs but makes me look like Niagara Falls when I get out of the pool because the skirt holds so much water? Do I wear the one piece that will be speedy swimming laps but shows every single bulge on my body and has what I would term a pre-teen bra that cannot even attempt to hold up one of my breasts? Do I wear the two piece bathing suit? Stop! I don’t mean a bikini! Geez…I’m not that crazy! By two-piece I mean a long tank top with the underwear type pants that hides nothing when it comes to the logs jutting out from my torso. All bathing suits are Spandex. I’ve said it before that all fat women should never wear Spandex. After much him-hawing, I decide I will wear the one with the skirt that seems to cover up more flaws that the others.

Now I must tell you that I have no fear of the water because as my late father would exclaim proudly, “I come from a family of great floaters!” Some of my earliest memories are of family vacations to Wildwood, N.J. and my father just laying back and floating over every wave that hit. When we started coming south to Florida for vacation, I was old enough to join him in the great float-out. It took me a while to realize that the reason we had a family of great floaters was because many of our family members, including my dad and I, were heavy. I’m here to tell you, fat people float! Skinny people sink!

On the first aquatic day, I woke up and worked up a sweat pulling the Spandex compression suit onto my body. Tugging, groaning untwisting straps as I adjusted every part of my torso into the suit so that my fat pockets were smoothed over and seemed to lie in the least invasive positions. I felt like the Pillsbury Dough Girl about to pop out of the can! I then grabbed a beach cover-up and threw that over top, snagged my goggles, donned my water shoes and was out the door. As I jumped into my vehicle, I noticed a slight flash of lightning to the south. I ran back in the house, grabbed my exercise clothes and sneakers just in case.

Upon arriving at the YMCA I am told that we will not be swimming today due to the weather. My brain screams with joy as I am given one more week before having to show my body to all. I realized then that I could not workout without my sports bra on so I ran into the locker room, tugged, groaned and untwisted again as I worked up another sweat taking off the bathing suit, put on my work-out clothes and went to class. After a short stint of exercises, one of the trainers came in and said they checked the weather and all was clear for swimming. They told us we had ten minutes to meet out at the pool. You have got to be kidding! Ten minutes? I ran back into the locker room, took off my now sweaty exercise clothing and once again fought the Spandex battle as I pulled and tugged and twisted to try and get my bathing suit onto my sweaty body. I already felt like I ran a five mile race just getting dressed three times!

After spending a few minutes searching to find the door to the pool, I went outside and quickly jumped in so that I could hide my body in the water. All of a sudden I felt the skirt of my bathing suit float up and fill with air. I looked down and realized that I must have looked like an Oompa Loompa in Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory because I was one hundred percent inflated. I quickly pushed my skirt down and held it at the bottom. I glanced around as my mind hears music, “Oompa Loompa Doompadee doo. I’ve got another puzzle for you. Oompa Loompa doompadah dee. If you are wise you’ll listen to me.” Do others hear it too?

Our trainer gave us two pieces of equipment, a noodle and foam barbells. As I leaned back on my noodle pulling my legs up and swinging them as directed, I once again experienced Oompa Loompa syndrome. All through the exercise session I had to push the skirt down to deflate it. I realized that I would have to rethink which bathing suit to wear next week. The skirt is good on land for covering the thighs but not in the water for exercising.

Presently I am already trying to decide which bathing suit will be worn next week and I have a few thoughts for you to ponder. I really think the women in the 20’s and 30’s had it easy with their bloomer bathing suits that covered the entire body and were made of cotton. Do you think I can bring that back? What about outlawing Spandex! Why are we tortured by Spandex visually and physically? How do men wear Speedo’s? Better yet, how do obese men wear Speedo’s? How do women wear thong bathing suits? Does it feel like a piece of dental floss between your cheeks?

Everything considered, the aquatic session was a nice change from the gym work-out. The water provides a cushion on your joints and water jogging is more comfortable than on land.

I am a recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp and I am beginning to believe that even wearing a bathing suit, I deserve to be there!

Recruit will not Quit!

I have returned from vacation and have started back to the summer session of Boot Camp that is called the Y Train. Due to my vacation, I missed the first four classes but I hopped back on the train the morning after my return. In the summer session, I had to commit to attend either the 6 a.m. class or the 6:30 p.m. as they will not let you do both or flip flop between classes. The trainers want to get to know the recruits more personally so this is the way to do it as it limits the class size.

Last Wednesday morning I woke up at 5 a.m., shoved a yogurt and granola bar down my throat, threw on my exercise clothes, packed my bag with work clothes and shower items and headed out the door. As I looked around, I wondered what the round object in the sky could be. Was I seeing a UFO? It was then that I realized that this was not a normal time of day to be going to exercise and that what I was looking at was the moon because Mr. Sun had not even considered showing his face at this hour! A few months ago I would never have imagined that this 54 year old obese woman would get up at 5 a.m. to exercise! Take my temperature please! I must be sick.

I arrived at the gym and did my warm up exercises and stretches by myself as I tested out my muscle that I had pulled several weeks ago. For the first time in weeks, I felt as if the muscle has totally healed but once again, I am very paranoid about sustaining another injury.

After stretches, Oshun introduced our group to two new members of the Y Train. Nick Norena is a Boot Camp Assistant. Nick looks harmless but looks can be deceiving. I have listened to Nick barking orders. He may be quieter than Rico and Nestor but I do believe he will be just as brutal. He will take over whenever Oshun is out during this session or just assist during the classes. Brad Smith is another addition to the Boot Camp. Brad is a volunteer who is a Marine Reserve. Brad and Nick are great additions for Oshun as they stand at the front and do the exercises while Oshun wanders through the recruits to check how they are doing and if they are using the correct form. When Brad and Nick demonstrate the exercises, their forms are impeccable. Neither of these young men have an ounce of fat on their bodies. They are so thin that I want to have a fatectomy and give them a little of my fat! I guess you can say Brad is a lean, mean fighting machine! I know I heard that on a commercial for the Marines and he fits the bill. I am sure that I will enjoy getting to know these two young men and I hope they enjoy meeting the old lady and all the challenges that come in this package that is known as my obese body.

On top of being scared of another injury, I had not exercised heavily in over three weeks so I knew I was in for a beating during this session. I realized that I may have jumped right back on the Y Train but my caboose was definitely dragging along the tracks! I silently hoped that Oshun, the engineer or trainer for the beginner and intermediate group, would slow the train down and take it easy on me. Those hopes were quickly dashed as Oshun showed no mercy! She expected every inch of my body to be moving along the tracks into the positions she demanded. Sweat poured down my face like the column of steam coming out of a locomotive engine. My body groaned with every strenuous move like the cars bumping and twisting over the tracks. Was that the roof rafters of the caboose creaking? Nope…it was my muscles and joints revolting against me as they are once again forced into positions that they just became familiar with in the previous Boot Camps. Oshun verbally confirmed what I was thinking, “It is no picnic when you come back from vacation is it Doris?”

The next morning I managed to crawl out of my bed without thinking I was going to die. I did have aches and pains again but not like in the past when I first started. I may be the caboose in the Y Train but I will be back for more. This train cannot be derailed because my life depends on it.

In Boot Camp, Oshun has a mantra that we shout. “We don’t stop. We don’t quit.” No matter the mental, physical and emotional challenges that I face with every session, I can now firmly say that, “I won’t stop! I won’t quit!” And I truly mean it.

I am a recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp and I am beginning to believe that I deserve to be there! “I WON’T STOP! I WON’T QUIT!”