My alarm goes off every morning at 4:30. Every. Damn. Morning. I set it that way. And as I lie there wondering if I really need to be going to the gym in what feels like the middle of the nite, to start bangin out box jumps and burpees I think “get up lard ass. Get UP”. Once I’m up and get some coffee Into me I’m fine.

Truth be told, I love working out. I just do. However, it was a long defiant journey getting to this point. Before my first Falmouth Road Race 10 years ago, the only running I’d ever done was either to the MBTA bus stop to make it to high school on time clear across Malden, or from the cops down the reservoir when they caught us under age drinking at night. “Run like the wind! Grab the Boone Farm!”

I only started to get into fitness after I got clean and sober because I needed something to be addicted to that wasn’t going to land me in jail or rehab. My ascent was slow largely due to the fact that I just didn’t want to exercise and I didn’t know where to begin. My first road race, I was the poster child for what not to fucking do your first road race, which is, to look like it’s your first road race. I was as geared up as a 5 year-old kid whose parents put her on a bike for the first time ever. Helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, training wheels, shin guards, mouth guard, face mask…Only my getup was all new running stuff. I didn’t know it at the time, but I looked like an asshole. I wanted to be prepared. Now, 10 years later I roll out of bed, eat a half-rotted banana and pick something out of the hamper, smell it to see if it’s offensive and put it on anyway before I head to the start line.

Most of us workout for various reasons but come on, it’s our vanity. We want to look good and be all skinny and fit and shit. I workout because I love to eat. A lot. And I’m also vain. There, I said it. You’re vain too. We are obsessed with what we look like naked. What we look like in every mirror in the house. We’re obsessed with the scale, and the tag on our jeans, and the Kardashian asses.

Here’s a nugget. I suffered from bulimia for years. I was obsessed with being “Small. Skinny. Size 4.”

I made it there. It was a brief stay and it sucked. It’s not realistic for me. And it was killing me. Literally. Most of us are brainwashed into punishing ourselves for what we shouldn’t have eaten. Who made that shitty rule? The gals in our family are not genetically blessed to look like Heidi Klum. We’re built more like mailboxes. We are as wide as we are tall. My friend April with her killer bod, eats the junk food diet of a 14 year-old boy and does not gain a single pound. She can go suck it as far as I’m concerned.

I realized well into my health and wellness lifestyle that I was not designed to be a skinny size 2 or 4. So I decided to be what I am — a squat 5”2 with some muscle and definitely some evidence that I really like cupcakes. What is this quest we are on for body perfection? We live in a world of “love the skin you’re in” but not everyone has the strength and perspective to really implement that. The words make sense, but to genuinely feel that isn’t as easy. I’m just as guilty. I want results but I want cookies. So I do what I can, with what I have and try and make up for the rest with my dazzling personality and other witty diversions. I go through phases where I won’t eat sugar for a month then be at dinner at my parents’ house and eat an entire ice cream cake. Yes, I said entire. And maybe a couple fistfuls of Oreos. Ohh my beloved Oreos. My mother says I’m like a raccoon when I stay overnight at their house. I sneak downstairs, eat 900 Oreos, and leave a pile of black crumbs all over the countertop. I try and convince her it wasn’t me the next morning as she’s just staring at the black Oreo ring around my mouth.

So, go out and be active. Get moving. Walk, ride your bike, run, challenge yourself to a 5k if you’ve never done one. Working out can suck. But if you find something that gets you motivated, that’s the pay off. Whatever you do, just move and feel good about it. I was in a spin class last week and the instructor said “look down at your feet! Looks at your legs! Watch how powerful they are. THAT is a privilege.”

Being here and being healthy is a privilege. I abused my body for a long time and now I take care of it properly. It’s the only one I get. Heidi Klums is already taken, by Heidi Klum.

Enjoy the cheese, the wine, the croissants. I’ll enjoy my Oreos.

Michelle is originally from Malden, Ma. Now resides in Falmouth with her two beloved dogs. She has been a hairstylist for many years and works in a popular spa in downtown Falmouth. She loves Crossfit, her dogs….any dogs for that matter and Oreos.