Like a snowball chasing me downhill, the reality of my unfit body started to haunt me, and many ideas came to my mind. One of them was ‘If I had the money, I would like to have plastic surgery to get rid of all the loose skin in my body’, this I discarded by reminding myself of how painful surgeries are, how long it takes me to recover from one, and how afraid I am of the cuts. Then I thought of going to one of this great spas where they take out the grease of your body through the latest techniques, but also discarded the idea when I learned that I would have to travel a long distance and leave my family every two weeks to do it.

The only thing left was to start the moves. How to do it? Walking alone would not take away my jello like skin. I needed something else… but what? Dancing. Yey! I went to different dance academies in town, but got scared when I saw how fast people moved around the room making the cadence of the dance be shown off in every bit of their bodies. That is when I spoke to my husband about my intentions of getting the moves to begin.

He got excited instantly. He said we should all go dancing, meaning that my daughter would also come with us. Then we found out it was impossible, as teenagers had a special schedule and could not be with older people in the same class. ‘Too bad for them, they are losing three dance aces’ was the common reaction of my party.

Then we run into this discreet fitness center, where the owner treated us well and informed us that we could take all classes for one single price. Sounded nice. As there were three of us, she offered a special price if we began that same day. No need to say it twice. Up we went to try out ‘the classes’, thinking they were some kind of heavenly spaces of fun, where people learned how to softly move their bodies.

We did not care too much about which class to take first, as we didn’t even understand the word aerobics. My husband diligently stayed to work in the weight lifting room, where two very handsome young men, with extremely good looking bodies, showed him around the novelties of every machine. Me and my daughter went to the beginners dancing class, without knowing that the class of the day was… BELLY DANCE.

The Arabic rhythms started playing, the hot teacher welcomed us and she started the warming up exercises. This is where I realized I couldn’t move. My body had been sitting still for so long, that it forgot how to follow the music. Her arms made perfect waves that I could not imitate, her waist moved like a thunderstorm and her chest… well, let me tell you, it had a life of its own! There she was moving, moving, moving…. One, two, three, turn around, three, two, one, move the hips! Only the hips, not the chest! Now only the chest, not the hips!

Bere Bere music is so nice. I remembered my friend Halima all the time. I thought she would be proud to know that I was learning these sexy moves from her land. At the end of the class, I had sweat for the first time in years, was totally exhausted, but was completely happy! Then came the aerobics class, which I took out of curiosity, and went home to fall asleep as soon as my head touched my pillow. The next day there was aerobic salsa, and the next Tae Bo. Aero Salsa made me remember the good old days when I could dance, while Tae Bo reminded me that I had never been to a self defense class in my life.

This is how I started a routine that has been going on for the last two months. Every day, whenever we had an opening, the three musketeers would grab their sport suits to get it together at the gym. I remember my first Ung Yang Do class very well because I could not breath after fifteen minutes of kicking and punching an invisible someone who urged me to punch stronger and kick higher into his chest. When I left the class my face was so red that my loving husband handed me water and said we could leave if I wanted to. ‘NO’ I answered firmly, took some rest and did some work in the machines to help build strength in the muscles.

I looked around me in every class and saw many slender women with beautiful bodies. I wondered what they were doing in the gym if they had such great figures. Naïve! After the first month I realized they were fat before, and now had these beautiful bodies that needed to be kept that way.

In one more month, I will graduate from my beginners class, but I am already attending intermediate classes. I don’t get tired out anymore and there is nothing hanging lose in my body anymore. Almost all the jello is gone. I have a waist again. My feet don’t get blisters anymore and I had to buy many sports outfits to change every day.

Hey Halima, you should see me dance now, I move my belly like a pro. Hey Shiku, you should see me move my feet to Brazilian Samba. Hey Jennifer, you should see me fight with style in Tae Bo. Hey Consolata, you should see my resistance now, you would be proud of me, as I finish two and even three hours of fierce exercise, without even blinking too much. I am a pro in the bicycle, I can ride it for twenty minutes at once, just to warm up. And I got myself a knockout front.

Girls, ladies, I wish I could say it just cost me money, but no. Like everything in life that is worth it, it cost me sweat, sacrifice, stubbornness, and willingness to win. Once again, I did something new, and I did it well. I am so proud about it, that I wanted to share it with you all, and thank all of you for being my inspiration.

Comment on this Post

Comments

I was so moved by your post Jackie. It made me happy as I could feel the happiness of your words. It is good you have found a way of staying healthy and one that you have been enjoying. A sound mind lies in a healthy body. You have a supportive family as well that is a double blessing.

We can still see you dance. We would love to . You can make a video and show us all what u can do :)

Lots of Love

Nusrat

I hope to make everyone see that no matter how hopelessly unexercised you are, you can start from scracth and see results in a few months, just by getting yourself to the gym!

If I did it, everyone can do it.

About the video, I will try to post a video of my teacher, together with a cute interview. Mine is not worth seeing if you don't have the 'before' and 'after' of the situation.

Thanks for the support!

Hugs,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

My dear little baby is now running than the mother! How encouraging my dear. Can you remember the them days? just few months anyway and now you can do it. Most encouraging the lose skin geting tighter. No one, and everyone who will read this post will bear me witness, feel good with loose hanging skin. When I started my runs which I am still doing to maintain my weight, I had those hanging ones and it was Not funny dressing infront of my hubby since all the time he could commment about it. I am so proud nowadays dressing infront of him since he is quick to comment.."Hei..you are look great".To a woman, thats enough to make the day. I really feel you my dear. Keep up the good work. Know what? You are now heading to Marathon mood. Next year, we will do it pamoja( together) Love you sista, Sista Consolata

By writing this article I wanted to let everyone know how somebody that is in the other side of the world, can actually achieve change in the life of someone else. You people gave me a lesson of life by running and running and running... without borders.

I encourage everyone to use every little free time they may have to engage into physical activity. There is always something that works for each person. Just have to do the homework and find it.

Thank you mom! You did great.

Let's do the Marathon. I am in. I am thrilled to make it pamoja.

Hugs and love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Hello! Just having a short stop tonight here. I'm so happy to read your wonderful life with physiucal fitness. How I love to have such an aerobic dance or belly dance to get rid of my "bulges". My six year old daughter always remind me to stay to keep fit and slim- and beautiful ! I love what your doing and its good for the soul. Keep dancing and smiling!

love, malaya

The "bulges" don't need to be there, you know. They are waiting for you to decide what to do with them. Your whole body is going to be thankful if you get rid of them, believe me.

So, my dearest Malaya, I think the time has come for you to begin a new journey too. We all want to hear about your new quest. Come on, ride the wave of being fit!

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Hi Jackie...

Its so wonderful to read the post. I cannot be tired of telling you that your way of expressing things and circumstances is so amazing. Everytime i read your post, i kind of get hooked to it. This time, in addition to your writing skills, i am awed at your determination. Oh, i think i should start the regime myself, before i get old and start complaining that i cant move my body. I have already become so lazy. Its been six months that i started driving my scooter, and ever since i havent walked more than 5 kilometers on a single stretch. there were times i walked like 10 kms to reach places....I needed some inspiration to exercise more, and i have certainly got some now...thanks for it!

And yes, we wanna see a video of you doing those smooth moves..ooooooo!

Love, Khushbu

Khushbu Agrawal

I love to have you as a reader. You are one of the reasons I open my mail happily when I post something, because I know you will read it. Thank you.

My determination comes from within, from inner motivation that started maturing when I found Sole Sistas and their amazing work. So, take my advice and follow the group. You will find interesting things begin to happen to your soul, and they will begin to show off in your body.

About the video, maybe when I finish my intermediate class. Right now I am not very good at it yet, but I do move, which is a big advancement!

Love, Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Dear Jackie, You have reminded me to go back to my own dance class. I decided to get fit through dancing earlier this year and joined a hip hop class. The Bronx is the birthplace of hip hop apparently so I took the opportunity to learn while I was here. Of course I was the oldest one in that class by about 20 years!!! and probably looked completely ridiculous doing the "booty shake" and other such moves, but I had so much fun. And not "too many" people laughed at me!!! I should really go back. I got really fit doing that and I always went home with a smile on my face! Tina

I am so glad to hear you like dancing! We should dance together sometime. If you can come to Bolivia, my house is open for you and your family, and we would have a blast dancing together. I know you would love Tarija. It is the most beautiful place in Bolivia, the happiest, and the friendliest.

All over Bolivia we have dancing parades two or three times a year. Here in Tarija, there is a beautiful dancing parade of only women in February, two weeks before carnival. It is called 'Thursday of Comadres' (Comadres are two girlfriends who commit themselves to be friends forever and share many beautiful moments). It takes place in the late afternoon, while in the morning 'comadritas' (little comadres) take over the main plaza. It is really beautiful. This year I will report on that. Please think about it. Come visit us.

Love and hugs,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Dear Jackie, I would love to come to Bolivia,though I have no idea how that might happen right now. I am sure though that we will have the opportunity to meet someday someplace: Then, I shall definitely dance with you, and give you a very large hug! With love Tina x

Qué hermosa descripción y qué experiencia linda! Gracias, Jackie por compartirla con nosotras. "Mente sana en cuerpo sano" dicen y es muy cierto. Se siente la alegría en tus palabras y dan ganas de bailar!.. Maravillosa experiencia en familia. Genial!

Un abrazo,

Luz Marina

Gracias por tu comentario. Estoy segura de que tú también serías feliz de venir a bailar conmigo en el Jueves de Comadres que tiene lugar aquí en Tarija dos semanas antes del carnaval, en febrero usualmente. Mi casa está abierta, ven a bailar amiga! Si viene Tina (lee más arriba) y vienes tú, entramos en mi comparsa y ustedes serían las invitadas de honor. Las mujeres aquí en Tarija somos bastante felices y compartidoras.

Que Dios ilumine el camino de mis hermosas amigas, y las traiga cerca de mí!

Un beso,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Dear Jackie,

We, the women are following different methods such as binging and purching to fit the beauty of women in the society. However, your post is the inspiring one how to be healthy. I love your suggestion of "Belly Dance." You know when i was in Nepal, we do not have bus and cars in my village so I have to walk almost three hours in a day for my work. But currently, I am in Bangladesh and every where we are using elevator and not doing exercise although we have gym in our university. At present, the authority has close the elevator by considering students health. Thanks for your post. This is a winderful piece.

With Love and Regards Sunita Basnet

Following any kind of routine will be very good for youl. Being Nepalese, I think your moves for belly dance will be marvelous!

Come on girl, join the Sole Sistas group and begin the change. You will have a wonderful experience.

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

I am so inspired by your post! Did you know Tae Bo has a special place in my heart? I'll to go back to see if I wrote about my experience with Billy Banks, Tae Bo and Mongolia!

I cannot wait to embrace you in person and dance to the Arabic beat. Have you listened to Rashid? His music is a must-have mix of pop and traditional music. Shawn, Jonah and I often have a "middle eastern dance party" while listening to him.

I am so in awe of you and the drastic change you have made in such a short period of time. You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing this motivational story.

Love, Jennifer

Jennifer Ruwart Chief Collaborator JR Collaborations

Mother Hen! You have been one of the inspirators of this. Your willingness to run, even when you had to push Jonah's chariot, touched my heart so much and gave me a lesson of life. I remember the picture well.

We will surely be the greatest pair in belly dance! Get ready girl, you've got to show me all your music, when you come to Tarija with Shawn and Jonah. Plan it up for next year's carnival time, to dance together at the Thursday of Comadres!

Tell Shawn he won't be left out, as there is also a Thursday of Compadres (one week before comadres), in which man dance in groups to local music and have a parade. It is not as nice as Comadres' parade, but let's bear it, women have a lot more sense of humor. And my husband would love to meet him and make him his Compadre! He already knows you and everyone in Pulse Wire quite well.

Love ya,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Hi jackie, I am so happy for you to be able to go through the journey of exercise and succeed. It takes a lot of discipline together with all those things you have shared. You have indeed inspired me. Thanks for your wonderful story.

With love Busayo

Busayo Obisakin Women inspiration Development center Ile-Ife, Nigeria busobisaki@yahoo.com womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com

You need to show the world how fit women are here in Pulsewire, so get started right away!

There is a routine for each person, just go out and find it, and let us know so we can celebrate your new fit body when you represent us in New York!

Go Busayo, Go.!!

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Hi! I enjoy reading all the post here in your journal. It made me smile and reminisce my aerobics , my yoga and my jogging exercises. thank you for response. Yes, I will try going back to my exercises and have fun!

love, malaya

But I must recognize I am very lazy... Anyway, after your SUPER SPORTY article, I am thinking about changing my lazy attitude toward Sport. If you'd be here - I would definitely join you to belly dance or fitness. It is always funny to do it with somebody else. I love so much the article, you bring some great solutions to yourself and it is so nice that you share them with us.

Maybe I should start doing sporty things...

Wake up my lazy me!

yours, Victoria

Victoria Vorosciuc Project Coordinator "Empowering women to participate in community life" WorldPulse Media Corresspondent

Just imagine Victoria! I would be elated to go dancing with you. I know you would love my belly dance teacher, and the tae bo instructor, they both make you want to stay fit. The rest of the teachers are great too. When I began, nobody thought I would last a week. They just smiled and looked away. Now, everyone knows me, they say hi, and they respect me for my stubbornness to keep attending the room of torture hahahaha.

It is a lot of fun to be there every day and see the results in your body. Come on girl, ride the wave of fitness. There is always some moves that will suit your mood. Give everything a try, you can't lose.

Or if you don't know what to do, take EVERYTHING. That way you will get to know all the routines, and you can stay in the one that you like best.

Let the games begin!

Hugs,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

i started excersing many years ago as a teenager to get rid of my excess fat but i thought nothing was happening. Today years later, after being teased endlessly by some people that i wasnt doing it well, i have my fit body because i refused to be discouraged. Truth is, any exercise is better than no exercise. i havent started dancing yet but i tried it once and i sweated so much in such a short time. It is the best way to lose weight beacuse it is the most fun.