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It's a Dog's Life

By Maggie Turner


Janurary 12, 2000

It's a Dog's Life

Six pounds! It hardly seems possible that a few pieces of fruitcake and a turkey dinner could add so much substance to my frame. However, there it is, in clear crisp characters on the bathroom scale, an extra six pounds. I step off the scale, remove my shoes, and step on again. Humph. There is no discernable difference. I step off the scale, resist an urge to kick it and return it gently to its rightful position in the corner.

This calls for a strategy. I will resort to the strategy I have used since I was a young woman. I will eat sensibly and I will walk.

I have an aversion to health clubs and exercise classes. It is not that I have not given these institutions and programs a fair chance; I have. The unspoken assumption behind the exercise class is that there is something wrong with either your body or your lifestyle, perhaps both; you need help. The instructors are smiling young women with oodles of enthusiasm or worse, serious young women who have a serious job to perform. Their bodies display the desired result of the program as they guide the class through the movements deemed helpful. Their primary and unspoken reason for being there is not personal fitness; it is your cash, their paycheck.

In the last class I ever attended, our perky little leader instructed us to get down on all fours and raise one leg, doggy style. I will try almost anything once, but this gave me second thoughts. Eventually I swallowed by own good sense and followed along with the rest of the class. It was then that I noticed the audience. A group of men in gym shorts was passing by, stopped, and stood mesmerized by our extraordinary display of physical prowess. I will never forget the look of surprise and amusement on their faces; at that moment, I knew I would never return to such a class. I will give those men credit; there was no outright laughter. That was my last exercise class. If I raise my leg in that manner ever again, watch out because I will mean business.

True to my strategy, I have been out walking this morning. It is below freezing again, the air was crisp and clean. Because we have had such mild weather for the last few weeks, we have no snow, the sidewalks are clear. Walking is easy. Walking is free. I even stopped in at the local library and checked out a CD by Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie. I am listening to it as I write. In a few months time those extra six pounds will have disappeared. I will have enjoyed gaining them and losing them with no humiliation whatsoever.


 

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