Maybe happiness weighs a bit more*

I’ve started going to the gym, even though I profess to loath it. But here’s the thing. I woke up one morning and thought, “I can’t ‘feel’ myself. I don’t feel my muscles when I move, and I certainly don’t see them in the mirror. Instead I feel like a gumby doll, with better hair—and a muffin top.”

I sat on the edge of my bed, contemplating the non-existance of my quadraceps, and decided the need to feel strong had overpowered my need for shavasana—it was time to find my muscles again.

A typical neighborhood gym
A typical neighborhood gym

For the last few years, my exercise has been primarily through yoga. I love it because I’m left feeling blissful and calm but for whatever reason in my life right now, I want to feel powerful. Given that many of the strength moves in yoga are beyond attempt by a body bereft of biceps, triceps or anything ending in ‘ceps’, I decided to give the gym another go.

Where I live now, in the centre of an old colonial city in Mexico, there are a plethora of lovely yoga studios. On the other hand, the neighbourhood ‘gym’ often looks less inviting. I could drive 45 minutes north where many of the wealthy Meridanos and their hip offspring live, and pay $20 a visit to work out with the creme de la creme. Or I could walk two blocks to my own little zocalo at San Sebastian and work out under the rustling leaves and baking sun.

San Sebastian
San Sebastian

Undaunted, I decided I would try the ‘workout in the comfort of your own home’ approach, did some surfing and found the effervescent and exuberant ‘Sugar Pop’ and her series of YouTube Fitness videos. I thought I’d start off easy with the ‘Muffin Top be Damned’ and ‘Girls Got Guns’ series. My arms have always been somewhat more toned than the rest of me so I thought ‘Guns’ would be a cakewalk. Ms. Sugar started us off with 10 Tricep pushups and it was game over—I could not do one. I got down to the mat ok but then I couldn’t get back up. Pa-the-tic. Plus my dog thinks that if I’m working out on the mat,  he has to join me, which breaks both my concentration and stoic disposition.

My workout companion
My workout companion

So here’s my new plan. Find a gym that isn’t outdoors (thereby avoiding the heat stroke equation), or in someone’s house (thereby avoiding any uncomfortable eye contact or unwanted pets), and that doesn’t break the bank. On top of that, I really need someone who feels as I do. I need a gym buddy, a ‘ratonito de gymnasio’… and I think I found one (he doesn’t say much but he’s inspiring).

But when all’s said and done, if I never get rid of the muffin top or lose those relentless 5 lbs that’s okay—because maybe happiness does weigh just a little bit more.

*I stole that line from Anne Lamott‘s ‘Crooked Little Friend’ because it is perfectly brilliant and oh so true. The only time I was a Size Zero was when I was depressed for a year after a break up, or going through chemo…I rest my case.

In October 2012, I drove 6,800 kms with my artist husband, Ric Kokotovich (, and my dog Iggy, to spend 6 months in our adopted city of Merida. Leaving the fast paced world of Calgary behind, I packed my books, art and entrepreneurial spirit, and set off to explore what lay beyond the borders that had become my life. In October 2013 we hit the road south again, hoping to find out what ‘living the dream’ really means. This is my adventure.

3 comments on “Maybe happiness weighs a bit more*

  1. Thanks my friend because me and my muffin top have been feeling really, really heavy… I mean ‘Happy’!!

  2. I hear you Alison! So enjoyed reading your blog. Since I returned to Winnipeg, my bread dough butt has risen significantly! I hate the gym…have limited room in my tiny home to exercise and need to do some positive self talk each and every day to get myself out and active. My solution….another trip to Merida?!

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