After injuring my back in 2006, I stopped going to the gym because working out on machines hurt too much. Soon after, I gave birth to two beautiful babies two years apart, and fitness just wasn’t my focus. My exercise was limited to walks with a double stroller, and breastfeeding was my cardio. Then there came a day in August, three years ago. It was my daughter’s birthday party. I remember laying exhausted, at the end of it, in a bounce house, wearing a beautiful, flattering dress that had received compliments all day. If you had asked, I would not have said I wanted or needed to lose 100 pounds. I didn’t feel bad about myself. I had just thrown an amazing party despite a record heat wave, and I felt accomplished and happy…in pain, exhausted–dehydrated even–and yet satisfied as the party wound down. I felt so good that I could imagine, feeling even better – way better than I had felt in a long time, better than I had ever felt before. I watched my children dancing and bouncing and I could sense their joy. I tried, but I just could not move like they did, at least not for longer than 30 seconds, and that just wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to feel lighter and stronger. I wanted to move with ease and grace like a ballerina. I wanted to move wildly like my three-year-old did, with my whole body, my whole being, like a prayer. I knew to do that, to feel that, some things would have to change. It was just a glimmer in my eye, but it got me to the gym, and when I found that machines still hurt me, it was the spark that kept me looking for what did work for me: Nia, Pilates, and belly dance. I didn’t know where I was going yet, but I knew I was on my way.
– Jamie Skinner