Dear Mr. Personal Trainer

posted by Momo Fali on October 1, 2012

Dear Mr. Personal Trainer,

I’m coming in to see you today after six months of, mostly, sitting on my hind end. And, by mostly I mean completely. I understand that you want to know my history and goals, so here goes.

I maintained a normal weight until just after my 26th birthday. Then I got married, had a high-stress career, renovated a house, had a preemie baby and blamed every pound I gained on each of those things. I had no time and no energy.

Then I had another baby and he was um…kind of difficult…even if I had had the time and energy, I would have taken it and put it into making him better, stronger, healthier, smarter and more typical. It turns out that ten years and ten surgeries later I realize that I like him just the way he is, which is sickly, tiny and kind of quirky, but that’s a whole different letter.

How I got here is beside the point; it’s where I want to go that matters. Eight months ago my high cholesterol sent me into the waiting arms of a vegan diet. Now I have a relationship with beans that I never thought possible. Also, my cholesterol dropped 160 points in three months. Without meds. Me and beans? We kind of love each other.

I joined your gym in January and started working out with a trainer and spent hours there each week. But, then the trainer got moved to another position and I got whooping cough, then summer came and that’s my SUPER busy season at the job I love and am passionate about. I had a hard time peeling myself away from my computer screen. And, once again, as I have countless times over the last decade, I fell into a vicious cycle of excuses.

I want this bad. I want good health, a long life and I want to be strong again. I wouldn’t mind if you could throw in some quickness and good balance, but if you could just get me to a point where it’s not a nightmare to get dressed each day, that would be great.

I take Zoloft and Ambien (see aforementioned paragraphs mentioning kids) and I know the anti-anxiety meds aren’t conducive to weight loss, but they also help me sit and watch mindless TV like Wheel of Fortune without grinding my teeth and clenching every muscle in my body. If you asked me whether I wanted to go back to feeling like I was always on the verge of a panic attack or be fat, I would chose the fatness. So, we have to work around that.

I like beer. A lot. I like chocolate. A lot. I also like vegetables and feel strong enough about my health to become a vegan and stick to that completely. But, please don’t ask me to give up beer. Or chocolate. Or coffee.

I would love to run a half marathon someday, but only a half because I think a full marathon is crazy. Plus I have asthma, so I don’t even think full marathons are allowed. Just sayin’. Oh, and I’m 41. FORTY-ONE, which is to say that I feel very middle-aged and if I don’t turn this around FOR REAL this time, I won’t ever do it.

I still have a whole life to live and so many places I want to go and a zillion things I want to do, but I won’t do any of them happily unless I can fix myself and I don’t know how to do that. I want you to help me get to a point where I can stop hating myself.

So, there you go.

No pressure.


  • Melisa

    You’re going to be just fine. I have seen people in MUCH worse shape than you with MANY more excuses be successful. All you need is the drive to do it. GO YOU!

  • Maria @BOREDMommy

    To say I can relate to much of what you’ve written here is a massive understatement. Good luck to you – you can do it! I wish you every success!!

  • Mom Off Meth

    Will you write a letter to my gym as to why I haven’t walked through their doors since they changed their name? Which was like a year ago? And ask them not to look at me or judge me. I don’t want a trainer, I like to work out and shame myself alone. Thanks.

  • Laura in Little Rock

    I’ve fallen off my wagon, my favorite Saturday class/teacher moved and I’ve just decided to wait, apparently a LONG time until they name a new person for my 8a Saturday class. Once I miss that class, well, I might as well wait and try next week. Yeah. My cholesterol is peachy, but I have a family history that means I should make sure one of my children become a cardiologist. I can mold one of them in that direction, right?! If not there’s my niece, maybe I can convince her that her aunt needs free medical service.
    Oh. Yeah. All that, you’ve just reminded me I need to get up and go myself and that coffee, red wine, chocolate and pecans do not make a balanced diet, even if they make me happy. thanks Momo! I’ll be trudging along behind you, grumbling and taking copious amounts of ibuprofen.

  • Tara R.

    You can do this and will be awesome!

  • Shannon

    I’m right there with you, Momo. I’m pushing forty (39) and the things that used to work to get the weight off and feel healthy just don’t work anymore. I am grateful for my dog. She at least forces me to walk everyday, but now it takes more than that, you know?
    Oh yeah, and don’t hate you. That makes me sad.

  • Deb

    I am in the same boat, except in one month I hit 50!! Yep FIFTY!!! Last year I got into shape, looked great! Then this year I got 6 months off work. Yes. Six glorious months to do NOTHING! Well, needless to say, my butt, thighs, & tummy have gone Waaay soft & I have no real desire to get up & do stuff! I REALLY need to get up & get back into something….. But I just can’t get motivated to do it! I need a gym that is more fun than sitting on the couch surfing Pinterest & the net!

  • Toni

    It’s hot where I live, brutally hot for 4 months out of the year and I don’t do well in the heat. and I have had my first desk job EVER for the last 5 years..and I’m 52..and laz..I mean have no motivation…and..and..GO MOMO!

  • Mama D

    Right there with you! Bravo for writing this post with such honesty. Hope you find a trainer (or the willpower) to get yourself into a condition where you feel happy and healthy!

  • Vicki

    Oh Diane… your writing is so truthful and raw. I’m rooting for you sister!

  • meleahrebeccah

    “I want good health, a long life and I want to be strong again. I wouldn’t mind if you could throw in some quickness and good balance, but if you could just get me to a point where it’s not a nightmare to get dressed each day, that would be great.”

    You’re totally going to rock this. I know it.

  • Jen Correa @ Mom's Gotta Run

    You are strong mentally and you just need to channel that strength. You will do great!

  • Arnebya

    You want it, go get it (and you deserve it, so there’s that). BTW if I were your trainer I’d totally bring surprise beer and chocolate for an after workout pick me up.

  • Stephanie in Ohio

    When this post popped into my email Inbox this morning I immediately felt relief that I am not alone in very similar circumstances (high cholesterol, two children – youngest is nearly 6 months, busy with work). Thank you for your candor mixed with a dose of humor. Very much needed (especially this morning when we have all caught the cold/strep/flu bug going around).
    I am totally retweeting this and sharing with friends! Thanks!

  • Jamie@southmainmuse

    Just make the time for this part of yourself Momo. It’s gotten really hard for me lately. But now that I’m 49 (Who just typed that? certainly not me.) I’ve got to keep it going. You talk about anxiety woes. I’ve struggle with it all my life. Honestly, I think that’s why I have been so dedicated to exercise. First vanity — but a very, very close second is my mental state. It helps keep me balanced. This morning I was down. I didn’t want to run but I had scheduled a run with two other women last night. I dropped the kids off and they were at the end of my driveway. Ugh. No where to hide. But once we started, my mood lifted. Not to say, I still don’t have to fight negative thoughts, but something does happen between my ears. I do feel better. wow. Probably longest comment I’ve ever written. Just make the time.

  • Kathy

    I’m frightened at how much of this sounds familiar. But I did drop about 30 pounds a couple of years ago. I picked machines at the gym that would still allow me to read – got a nook – only allowed myself to read a favorite book when on said machine, found addictive books, and it got me actually excited to get to the gym, because I couldn’t wait to read the book.

  • preeva tramiel

    You go, girl!

  • Mare

    Wow, I have to know how you dropped 160 from your cholesterol. I have that issue too…I gave up meat two years ago, and my number came down about 50 points, but still needs to drop more. Are you eating ONLY produce? No dairy? Fish? I don’t drink beer, but I need my chocolate too. Not negotiable. Help me!

  • MommyTime

    You can totally do this. I am sure of it. A half-marathon is within reach. I’m setting big goals for myself too, sports-wise, and all I can say is, that there is something great about being in your forties and taking on something you’ve always wanted to do. Sending huge hugs and assurance of your success…

  • Ginger Kay

    “If you asked me whether I wanted to go back to feeling like I was always on the verge of a panic attack or be fat, I would chose the fatness. So, we have to work around that.”

    This. There are so many worse things to be than fat. I hope you find a happy medium, where you feel physically well and healthy, and don’t worry about the weight.

  • Beth

    Me too. 41, too many lbs., anti-depressant, needed it to survive. Wish I had the umpf to get a trainer and work hard. But I’m going to keep trying! I’m not a lost cause! And neither are you. I hope you tell us more, so I can share your story and be encouraged.

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