I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes I still eat the wrong stuff. I’m still overweight. I am clearly a work in progress. The good news? I am progressing, and I want you to come with me. We will make great strides. We will work ourselves into shape. We will change each other’s lives for the better. We will make mistakes along the way. And we will laugh them off and keep going. Many of you here know me as a novelist, author of the bestselling book The Dirty Girls Social Club and a bunch of others. What you might not know about me is that before I became an author I was a journalist, and before that, I was a fitness professional. FIT AND NO FLAB I taught my first “aerobics” class when I was 16 years old. It was a great part-time job for a high school girl, and I was able to make three times what most of my friends were making cashiering in fast food joints. I loved teaching, and it came naturally to me. I was a dancer, and an athlete, on the track and field team and the swimming team at school. I also raced 12-speed bikes on the weekends, for fun. By my senior year of high school, I was the same height I am now—five foot six—and weighed 118 pounds. When our Health teacher needed a student to demonstrate how “a perfect body mass index” looked, he had me stand in front of the class and roll up my sleeve to show that his calipers couldn’t pinch anything on my upper arm but skin.