For those of you who follow this column, you know that a little ways back I made a very grand and public declaration about my commitment to lose those last 10 pounds from my pregnancy and get back into shape. I started working out with a trainer (Laura Hebert of, I returned to Weight Watchers, I vowed to try any and all exercise classes in and around Santa Monica and I promised to document my efforts here for you, so I could be held accountable.

Well, something happened on the way to my skinny jeans.

True, I lost weight at first pretty easily, 4 pounds, thanks to Laura’s circuit training and friendly support. But then it was Thanksgiving. Then, I wanted to sleep late on Saturday and skipped my Weight Watchers meeting. Then, I ordered the cheesecake, then another. Then, the scale started inching back up, eventually passing where it had been when I’d started. Then, I was embarrassed and skipped my Weight Watchers meetings completely. Then, I found other things to write about in this column instead of rehashing my recent stumbles.

Well, here I am. Embarrassed or not, I’m ready to make my report. Losing weight is hard. And while I professed that I wanted to lose the last 10 pounds of the baby weight, to be honest, I lost that long ago. What I am carrying around now is toddler weight. It’s finishing my son’s mac-n-cheese. It’s sharing ice cream with him. It’s having tempting snacks in the house. It’s being too busy or too tired to head to an exercise class. Sometimes as a mom it is hard to get it all done. It is hard to take care of yourself as well as you take care of your child. And so I don’t.

And though I am down on myself, I’ll give myself props because I am still actually showing up to work out with Laura two times a week. And the way I have been eating, if it weren’t for Laura, I would have gained twice as much.

Well, the holidays are over and I am done with that as my excuse. Besides indulging in poor food choices, the one thing that I have been terribly remiss about is changing up my routine and trying some fun new classes. I talk about how I want to check out this yoga class, or that spin class or take ballet or jazz. I used to love to dance. But I always find an excuse not to go I needed to do something bold.

So I signed up for trapeze class.

For those who don’t know, there is a trapeze school on the Santa Monica Pier, right next to the arcade (

It’s a spectacular spot. You can see the ocean all around and the Ferris wheel spinning and you can’t help but be thankful that this is where you live.

But the view was not the star of the day. That was being shown by the staff that I could do these crazy feats. Before I knew it, I was leaning out to grab the bar of the trapeze, and then when they told me to, I jumped and swung through the air, high above the tourists below. After a few turns, I was hanging from my knees, catching someone else’s arms on another trapeze and doing back flips. I even got an applause from the crowd below.

It was great and very freeing to do something that was so out of my element and so scary. While the adrenaline was pumping, the fear did not subside. The shaking continued each time as I climbed the ladder to the top. And yet I kept going.

They told me I was good at it too, that they could tell I used to be a dancer. I told my husband, “They probably just want me to sign up again for more classes.” And he wondered why I am always so down on myself and asked me why can’t you just be good at something?

And I realized that I’ve been completely in my own way. If there are things I want, I can get them. I just have to do them. I just have to try. Perhaps I would even be good at them. Sometimes things are hard and frightening, like losing weight or getting in shape, but you have to take a leap (literally).

I talk a lot about doing stuff, like exercising. But if I want it I have to just do it. Because I can do it. I can go down to the pier and climb high above and lean out over a big net and twirl through the air and come back down with my hands sore and red and feel energized and terrified all at once and still get back up on the stairs to go again.

So after swinging through the air, with a back flip over the Pacific Ocean, I knew that I was becoming more than just a talker. And while trapeze was tremendous, my childhood dream was not to run away and join the circus, it was to sing and dance on Broadway.

So the next day I got up and went to dance class.

Rachel Zients Schinderman lives in Santa Monica with her family. She can be reached at

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