By Traci Arbios,

On the very first day of the very first month of this brand new year, I stepped on my home scale and let loose a wail of disgust that could be heard clear to Selma.

EIGHT POUNDS! I had snicked and snacked my way through the holidays and on up the scale by EIGHT POUNDS. Going in, it looked like red wine and fine cheeses and amazing butter cookies. But I knew, sloping there off my hips and my thighs and the new floppy parts of my arms, it now all looked like a big bunch of yellowy chicken fat. On the inside of my skin, anyway. On the outside I looked like a tube of sausage in too-small a casing.

I had to do something.

My family had been long-time members of GB3 gym, in Clovis, Calif. You know the one: It’s that big, big pretty building near the Sonic and the Starbucks, just down from that Tokyo Steakhouse. (Yes, I do give my best directions by naming food establishments. Why do you ask?) I love this gym, because it is big and clean and close to home.

That doesn’t mean I visited all that often.

And that clearly was the problem. I knew people whose gyms were their second home. They had developed strong ties and deep friendships with people they sweated near. I was kind of envious. Mostly of their small waists and lithe bodies, but sure, I would like to have friends, too. Ones I actually saw and spent time with outside my home. Because the friends I have at home are actually called “family,” technically speaking.

Like many people in the rest of Fresno County, at the start of the New Year I struggled to fit into my once-baggy sweats, and waddled through the doors of the gym. I ambled over to the treadmill, and began walking. I looked up, watched some TV on one of the many plasma screen TVs that face the exercise machines (although Glen Beck was crying at me and that always creeps me out). There were fans to keep me cool and trainers available for my questions. On my way out, sweaty and glowy with endorphins, I grabbed a list of all the classes available.

Yoga. Pilates. Aerobics. Spin classes. Zumba?? No idea what it is, but it sounds like fun. Anyway, classwise, they have it all. I’m currently hooked on Yoga. Me, lazy-laz-o-Slobberton, into Yoga. Go figure.

Time passes, and now, three weeks into the New Year, and I’m a regular gym rat. Wait — going three times a week for a few weeks counts as gym rat status, right? In any event, I’m trying to keep up with my resolution to lose the great golden globs of greasy grimy girly fat I put on over the holidays — four of which are now gone. So not bad. I’ll keep trying.

Traci Arbios is a mom, stepmom, and working mom. She lives with and writes about her blended family of seven kids, five pets and one amazingly patient husband at Contact her at or follow her at

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