It can be hard to reach your goal when temptation steps in the way. Pete has a devious plan to keep Maddi on track.
If Maddi had a dollar for every diet fad or food plan she’d tried that claimed to make the excess weight fall off while she sat on the couch and read a book, she could afford a lux cruise somewhere. She was spoilt for choice when it came to gadgets, accessories, and Apps that worked her core, and tightened this and toned that. She had weights, a swiss ball, a yoga mat, a bicycle, resistance training gear, and Yoga/ Pilate DVDs. Last, but by no means least, was her secret weapon; her old, pink, slightly-faded sweatband and lycra workout gear from her ‘80s Aerobics class, which stretched accommodatingly over her matured shape.
Maddy felt a small melancholy tingle as the visions flashed, remembering those great tracks she worked out to. The local gym was populated by sweaty, multi-coloured lycra, leotard-clad women lined up facing the wall-length mirror as they gyrated, squatted, jogged, lunged, and twisted. The ghetto blaster played cassettes; to name a few…Billy Idol’s White Wedding or Freddy Mercury pumped out Fat Bottom Girls.
She was so flexible back then. It was no trouble at all to do full splits. Her movements were fluid and graceful and her lycra tights and leotards moved like she was poured into them. The gym gear and leg warmers were a signature of the ’80s, if you weren’t wearing them, you just weren’t in at all. As soon as Maddi pulled her ensemble on, that groove returned. She would wear it for her new fitness plan along with new walking shoes with memory soles to stride out in. She thought the memory feature would come in very handy should she have some menopausal brain fog, if her muscle memory didn’t kick in. With everything on her checklist ticked, Maddy had every reason to embrace a positive, energetic new groove.
Maddy made a star chart to mark off each time she broke a sweat or stretched a muscle, just to commend herself for her efforts and achievements. This was a bold move, making her five children wonder what she was up to.
“Star charts, at her age?”
I know, and that swimsuit she’s wearing.”
“The music isn’t too bad, though…”
“It’s not rap, so it’s no good at all.”
“I can’t keep a straight face. I hope my friends don’t come around and see her…”
Maddi’s new fitness plan was all a bit eye-rolling for her offspring, but they thought it was best just to leave Mum to it. Maddi’s oldest daughter Kate hoped she didn’t go outside the house looking so old-fashioned. Yoga pants and a sloppy tee shirt with a catchy slogan on it would be a far better look, but Pete was firm.
“Do not say a word. Mum is giving it her best shot.” Pete adored his wife and was always supportive, loving, and encouraging. With a busy household, anything to keep stress levels low was a good thing.
With all the exertion and effort Maddi was expending, she thought there should be a ‘carrot’ dangling at the end of each day. Something to look forward to, a treat to relish for her hard work. So, what better way to celebrate her achievements, than with chocolate! She loved anything chocolatey; her menopausal cravings were so cruel.
Two weeks into Maddy’s exercise regime, James could see cracks in her plan. The chocolate was corrupting her; her penchant for Cadbury’s Old Gold 70% Cocoa was proving more popular than her swiss ball. The creamy Caramello was a close second.
Before all was lost, except her desired weight, Pete had an idea. he called a quick meeting with the kids, on the sly, while Maddi was showering after her morning walk.
“listen up, guys. I know how we can help Mum reach her goal. We hide the chocolate in the garage, on top of the fridge. She won’t go out there to get it, I’ll have to go and get it for her.”
The children listened intently, while Kate searched the Play Store on her phone.”I’m sure there’s an App that will help…”
“Never mind the App, love, all mum needs is more encouragement and less chocolate. It’s all about teamwork. You all will be in charge of keeping the frogs happy, leaving food for them daily so they stay around or on the fridge. Kate, Google ‘frog food’. This should do the trick. Are we in?”
“A hundred percent, Dad.”
“We can do this!”
“Mum can do it! Anything to get her to put that swimsuit away will be worth it!”
“It’s a Le-o-tard…”
“Whatever. It’s so..so…”
“Weird. Awful. That’s what it is.”
Pete sighed. “Okay, Mum will be out of the bathroom soon. We all know what to do?”
“Copy that, Dad.”
“You’ve been playing too many online games!”
He put Maddy’s chocolate in the fridge out in the garage, which housed the beer, wine, mixers, and other occasional consumables. Knowing there were cold, creepy overstayers hiding in the shadows inside the garage, which Maddi despised, Pete was confident she would not go out for her chocolate stash for fear of a few frogs lingering on or around the fridge. The plan was foolproof.
James gave Maddy a small square of her chocolate fix each day to help keep her on task and pump her with pride as she moved nearer to her goal.
The stars stuck to the chart and Maddy’s core strength improved. It was a winning arrangement; the frogs were doing a great job, croaking occasionally in menacing tones, and making regular appearances on the fridge. The children fed the frogs under James’s supervision, to keep the children and the frogs interested and on task.
What a star team – The frogs, chocolate, and lycra, and bringing it all together with a faded pink sweatband. And just quietly, Pete told Maddy she was rocking her striped legwarmers. Maddi blushed the same colour as her headband’s original unfaded shade. Unlike the song played during her workouts, she didn’t feel bad to the bone anymore, she felt good to the core.
Ten weeks later, Pete set a date for a surprise lunch out for the family. With Maddi’s new food plan she enjoyed seafood, so he booked a table for seven at The Boat House, down by the wharf. Maddi thanked her family for helping her and promised to retire the lycra. She was treating herself to new yoga pants and a not-so-baggy teeshirt, three sizes smaller!
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Copyright Fleur Lind © 2021