The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week as a component of good health. Do you meet the mark with your religious power walks and Pilates classes or do you fail miserably and consider the walk to the refrigerator your daily dose of calisthenics?

I would say I fall somewhere in between the Pilates queen and the couch potato. I don't exert energy via rigorous workout regimens, but I also don't perch myself in front of the TV to live vicariously through the reality shows. In my opinion, running around after my daughter on a daily basis should be an acceptable substitute for exercise. Unfortunately, playing hide and seek with a toddler does not help fast track weight loss efforts.

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With my recent weight gain (due to the cessation of nursing), I decided I finally needed to adopt healthier eating habits and begin an exercise regimen. Actually, a recent shopping trip to Macy's and a mirror that morphed my body into bloated, fun-house-reminiscent reflections convinced me I needed a change. Okay, the mirror didn't actually morph my body, but that is the story I am telling myself and I am sticking to it. The point is, I wanted to buy some new fall clothes, I just couldn't. After three hours of trying to squeeze in and out of tight clothes and practically cutting off my circulation, I emerged victorious with one outfit. And not just any outfit. An outfit that looked like it was a hand-me-down from Kirstie Alley's closet during the height of her roller coaster ride of weight gain.

Later that night, I spent hours in the kitchen preparing healthy meals for the week so I would not be tempted to swing by McDonald's should hunger strike me while pressed for time during my daily rat race. The next night, I asked my husband to watch our daughter so I could do my first workout of the millennium. Two years may not exactly be considered a millennium, but it sure as hell feels like it when you are out of shape and out of breathe.

I started out strong, daring Jillian Michaels to push me harder. I could take any bend, stretch or pivot she could dish out. I was red-faced and panting like a dog but my determination was unbreakable. And then Jillian announced that the warm-up was over and the routine was about to begin. At that moment, I felt profound emotion ... in the form of hate for Jillian I-am-so-cool-with-my-ribs-poking-through-my-skinny-pants Michaels. I kept thinking, "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you" but I persevered on, nonetheless. That is, until my husband came downstairs with my daughter as if my exercise stint was a spectator sport.

My daughter had been watching me make a fool of myself from upstairs and was upset that her momma was so far away. So surrounded by my audience of one husband, a baby and two dogs, I tried to continue my workout. My daughter was running in, out and around my legs so for fear of hitting her in the head with a dumbbell, I decided to put the weights aside. My husband would tell you that I was just using her presence as a lame excuse to minimize my exertion levels, but I would say those sitting on the floor in spectator position shouldn't judge. Case closed. Next, my daughter started to dance next to me while I was moving and grooving, in an attempt to either emulate me or mock me - I am really not sure which was her true intention. My husband was mocking me - there was no coyness on his part.

When it was time in the workout regime for the abdominal routine, my daughter decided that would be the most opportune time for her to use my stomach as a see-saw. I basically became a human piece of playground equipment for her. I took advantage of the tot-sized twenty-pound weight on my abdomen and continued with my crunches while she enjoyed the ride. When she started to give me raspberries on my belly, I figured the exertion that I got from laughing was enough to meet my calorie-burning quota for the night. I decided to hang up my Nike kicks and enjoy some playtime with my daughter ... except I couldn't move. I was exhausted. So exhausted that I allowed my daughter to run circles around me and stay up an hour past her bedtime while I recouped on the family room floor. I am pretty sure many children's videos include some sort of brief exercise movements to get kids moving at an early age. I think the next time I am going to trade in Jillian Michaels' intense routine for a mellow workout with Barney the purple dinosaur. Though after ten rounds of "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family...," I may end up hating Barney too.

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