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Can Heavy be Healthy?

At first, Sandy Schaffer couldn't commit.

She just couldn't buy sneakers during those first months of working out at In Fitness and In Health, her new gym.

At 380 pounds, she figured, why bother?

Why invest in proper footwear, since this attempt at regular exercise would probably meet the same death as all her other attempts. So she stretched and stepped and danced in sandals.

But something funny happened. She realized that she liked the aerobics and yoga and jazzercise. In fact she loved them.

Before she knew it, she was working out for two hours straight three times a week. In this tiny gym in New York City's Murray Hill, one of the few fitness studios in the country dedicated to "Plus-Size Exercise," she didn't feel intimidated by sleek skinnies in lycra. Surrounded by rows of other large women...


Selected Works

Yankee Magazine
Alison Hardy has dedicated her career to saving antique windows.
Travel essay published in the anthology "Around the World."
How does one survive biking in Cambridge, the legendary English city of narrow, winding streets, congested traffic, bellowing drivers, and cows? Lots of cows.
Caught between caring for their parents and their own families, members of the sandwich generation struggle to cope with the many challenges of parenting a parent.
Can you be fit and fat? Contrary to common belief, yes you can.
Writer Sue Hertz explores a lifelong ambition – learning to sing on key. Can she? Will she?
With the help of an antiques dealer, nutritionist, and a medieval scholar, Carol Shea-Porter, who had never held public office, beat the Republican incumbent to represent her New Hampshire district in the U.S. Congress.
Remember the warmth, the closeness, the dailiness of the family meal? Neither do we. A Boston Magazine essay exploring the reasons behind the disappearing family dinner and the repercussions.
Hockey great Bobby Orr may have knees like no other, but that doesn't mean the rest of us haven't abused the joint beyond its intention.
Boston Globe Magazine cover story on the gentrification of this seaport city on the coast of New Hampshire
The New Hampshire Historical Society's regal home, one of the state's most renowned structures, celebrates its 100th birthday. The path to the creation of Concord's architectural gem was anything but smooth.
Book
Write Choices blasts through the boundaries between different forms of narrative nonfiction, focusing on the choices all writers of all forms make at every juncture, from choosing an idea, to collecting content, to creating a structure, to revising.
A powerful narrative illustrating the impact of abortion politics on women and health care workers.