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I've been lifting weights for more than six months now, and I have to say I'm seeing some real progress. Friends frequently stop me to tell me I'm looking "so skinny." And relatively speaking, I am. I can look in the mirror now and I see that my legs and arms are toned. My shoulders have a pleasing squared-off shape to them. My abs are still pooching out, but they're no longer hanging around in a different zip code. I have some little lift where I used to have a lotta droop.
But for all the effort I've put in, I've got nothing on Truman.
Forget the baby fat. At just over a year, Truman has the look of a 50s-era bodybuilder--the kid who would never get sand kicked into his face. He's stocky but lean, a perfect specimen of incipient physical fitness. Every little muscle in his body is perfectly defined--you can see him flexing his baby biceps and triceps. His quads are stacked. He has a bit of that little baby belly, but you can see that he has a little six-pack underneath. He even has awesome pecs--that's right, pecs on a 14-month-old. He's a lean, mean toddling machine.
It's hot these days, and play dates inevitably involve baby pools and runs through the sprinkler and the inevitable stripping down to the swim diaper. And the minute Truman's clothes come off, the other mommies always gasp, and without fail say exactly the same thing: "He's so buff!" Because he really, truly is. He IS buff.
My husband and I scratch our heads over this one, and we wonder, "Where did this kid come from?" Because it's clear that he's gifted in some genetic way--he's a little mesomorph, and he basically came out of the womb with muscle definition.
Coury and I, on the other hand, are both couch-dwelling endomorphs--prone to run a little toward the chubby side. My mother-in-law recently confided that she'd always had to shop for my husband in the husky section. That's a pretty good description of him--he's not fat, but he's what you would call a big guy. As for me, I'm a husky type, too. My friends might tell me I'm looking skinny, but I'm really not--I have the shocking double-digit pants size to prove it. Even at my personal best, I'm simply not a thin person--that's just not my body type. I've come to accept it--size 8 is doable for me, but I'll never be a size 4 (let alone a 2 or 0).
I'll have to also accept that no matter how many reps I do, I'll never look as good as Truman naturally does. But I try to sit back and enjoy the view, and let his natural exuberance remind me that the results aren't as important as the process anyway. He's got the right attitude toward exercise: He runs because it feels good. He swims because it's thrilling. He moves his body simply to experience the life flowing through it. If only I could see my work-out routine the same way; if only I could rock a swim diaper half so well...
Hillari Dowdle is a freelance writer based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Right now, she weighs 146.8 and vows to stay away from the Oreos in the freezer.