Mirror, mirror on the wall…

This last Christmas I gave myself a beautiful gift: the gift of confidence, strength and acceptance. Where did I buy this gift, you wonder?

I bought myself a work-out DVD set, called  ‘All in 18.’

I read about it in a magazine, Women’s Health, and there were a few exercises featured in the article to try.

What I like about it is that it focuses on the entire body and that every session is only 18 minutes long. You really can carve 18 minutes out of your day. Think about it: that’s only 9 funny cat videos on Facebook, three articles in the NYT,  one browsing session on Instagram less a day.

I started right away.

There are 6 DVD’s with each an 18-minute work-out targeting a certain part of the body: The Total Body Fat Torch, the Upper Body Burn, Ultimate Core, Fierce Legs and Glutes, Sweat and Sculpt Combo and the 18-minute-Max-Out.

And it includes a bonus DVD with two 10-minute bonus work-outs (10-minue Metabolic Mayhem and 10-minute All-In Abs) to spice things up or make it a bit more challenging on days that you can spare 28 minutes.

I guess you’re supposed to follow the schedule with a work-out every day, 6 days in a row with one day rest.


After I did the first work-out, my body didn’t agree with doing another one the next day. I had to recover!

So I came up with a schedule of doing the work-outs every other day and added some cardio as well. (Spinning or running)



One thing you need to know about me, is that I don’t particular like exercise. Never have. I am far from competitive and ‘having to do a work-out’ is almost on the same level as going to the dentist or for a mammogram. But I also realize the benefits and have experienced the ‘feel good’ hormones after a satisfactory work-out (unlike the dentist or the mammogram!).

It’s therefore with pride that I can tell you that I have been able to keep up my work-out routine, despite having felt sick and low on energy, having traveled to the Netherlands and starting working full time.


To make sure I don’t get any injuries I have placed a mirror in my exercise spot. It was daunting at first, but I have improved my form, upped the weights, and shaped my entire core. Looking in the mirror, my red face pressing the weights above my shoulders would have thrown me off a month ago.

But now I don’t see the face: I see the shoulders, getting more and more defined every day.

Doing a plank with my post-three-kids-hanging belly like a little potbellied pig was terrifying at first, but I notice how the belly is shrinking, tightening up, how the arms are getting stronger, how beautiful the form is becoming.


This morning, marking of another work-out on the calendar, I couldn’t help myself: before I put the mirror away, I gave it a kiss.

I will never be as our President refers to as a number 10 kind of woman, but I like what I see and I am proud and confident. And that is the best gift you can receive.


Edith Schriever

About Edith Schriever

I am a Maine-igrant from the Netherlands. While my scientist husband fell in love with the beautiful research institute here, I fell in love with Mount Desert Island. Mountains, ocean, wild life, peace and quiet! A culture change? Yes, a bit. Americans are not at all like the Jerry Springer audience I saw on TV when living in the Netherlands, well, at least not everyone. Portions are big and toilets small and low; I have learned to embrace the cultural differences.