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I'm 'That Mom' at The Gym in January

Photograph by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez

On New Year's Eve, I told my husband I wanted to get up early the next morning and head to the gym. I wanted to do something that made me feel good on the first day of the new year.

And then my husband said, "Don't be that person. You know how crowded the gym will be? Go in a few days and avoid the new year's crowd."

He wasn't trying to discourage me. He just knows me. I hate crowds. And I'm easily discouraged from going to the gym. I'll find any reason not to go.

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I don't typically go to the gym on the first day of January. It's usually the last thing I want to do. While I may not go on the first day, year after year, I make it a point to start going in January. I start off strong and then, usually by February, the fire goes out. I get busy, I get lazy and before I know it, it's June.

January is the month of resolutions and weight loss commercials. It's the ultimate do-over and gives people a chance to truly feel like they have a fresh start. And it usually means everyone flocks to the gym motivated to get "summer ready."

I remember a few folks in my social media feeds making fun of the "gym flockers" last year. Complaining that the gym was going to be crowded and sharing January gym memes. I laughed them off; I have a good sense of humor. But there was this small part of me that resented the ridicule. Because I'm usually one of those people.

Walking into the gym can feel intimidating — like walking into the cafeteria on the first day of high school. Even more so when you think your presence is seen as a resolution fad. And just like high school, there are gym cliques. The "muscle heads" grunting as they lift weights, the cute girls who look like they sweat diamonds in their coordinated gym outfits. And then there's me — the mom who, once again, is determined to lose weight and get fit. I just want to keep my head down, find a machine in the corner (no weights for this mom) and get out as quickly as possible.

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Photograph by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez

Our gym is literally at the corner of our apartment building. We've been members for almost two years. And in last year, I've gone a handful (OK, maybe two handfuls) of times. Believe me, it shows. Over the last five years, I've gained a little more than 40 pounds.

But it's more than the weight or my vanity. It's how I feel. I turned 40 last year and I've noticed the changes in my body. I can't bounce back the way I used to. I'm tired, I find myself out of breath and there are days when my entire body aches.

Having a kid with special needs, I want to be as healthy and strong as possible. I don't need to be a size 6 again but I want to be able to run around and keep up with my son. I want to live as long as I can. I want to set a good example for him.

I spent the end of last year working to alleviate stress by coloring and mediation. I want to take it one step further.

This year, I want it to be different. Like Oprah says, "I want 2016 to be the year of my best body." I want to make the time to go to the gym, even if it's just for 20 minutes on the treadmill. Even if it's just once a week. So keep the January resolutions memes coming. I'll be laughing right along on the treadmill. Because we all have to start somewhere and what better time to start than in January.

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