I’ve been a little absent for awhile – where do I even begin? I’m warning you now, if you don’t like long updates and stories… you’ll want to move right past this post! 🙂
For probably the last 10-12 months, I have been looking forward to attending my cousin’s wedding in Jacksonville, FL and that event happened this past weekend. I flew down to Jacksonville on Thursday and arrived home on Monday. I have a lot of weight loss and non-weight loss feelings/experiences that I thought I would share – I will do my best to break it up and break it down!
Flying Post Weight Loss
My only experience with flying in the past was 2 1/2 years ago at my heaviest, 444 lbs. To say that the experience was terrible is an understatement. There is the embarrassment of having to buy a seat belt extender and two seats, as well as the “walk of shame” back to your seat – you know what I mean… the sideways walk you do down the aisle because you can’t walk like a normal person. In addition to the sideways waddle, you have to look at alllll of the people sitting in fear that your seat is next to theirs and the visible relief they feel when they realize you’re going to walk past them! Then there was the experience of me not drinking ANYTHING for a long time prior to my flights because I was worried about having to use the bathroom – not an easy thing to do at that weight!
I was really anxious about my flight and I wasn’t sure why. I know logically that I would fit into the seat and not need an extender, but I couldn’t help but feel nervous. I think it’s because when I actually imagined flying again, it immediately brought up my anxious/ashamed/embarrassed feelings I had the last time I flew – the memories were causing the anxiety, not truly thinking I would experience these things again. I needed to have a flying experience where I didn’t have those feelings, so that I knew for sure that as long as I keep working hard and taking care of myself… I will never have to experience flying as a super morbidly obese person ever again.
I’m happy to report that I did NOT need to turn sideways to walk down the aisle… I did NOT need a seatbelt extender, and I did NOT need a second seat. Flying couldn’t have been more comfortable – I even had my legs crossed… at one point I put the tray table down with plenty of room. I didn’t use the bathroom, but I’m sure my saggy butt would’ve fit in it just fine! 🙂 Here is a pic of the extra seatbelt slack!!
Extra space in the seat belt on the plane
Anybody that has followed my posts knows what I don’t really care for all the attention that I get now that I’ve lost weight. Don’t get me wrong, it makes me happy to know that people think I look good and that they notice the difference; however, it’s the attention I get from people where they go on and on and on and on about my weight loss and how I look that makes me uncomfortable. There was a combination of good attention and bad attention on this trip.
First, I’m happy to say that my family actually noticed I lost weight this time when they saw me. If you’ve been a long-time reader of my posts, then you may remember last June I went to a family get together on my Dad’s side and despite losing 130 lbs at that point… nobody noticed. This was definitely not the case this time.
There were a lot of “you look amazing!” or “you look incredible!” comments. One of my uncles asked me if I was sick… I chuckled and said, “Nooooo, this was intentional” (don’t you just love that question?) A few people didn’t even recognize me (and told me so) and a lot of people commented on how beautiful and happy I looked. The fact is… they were right, I felt beautiful and I felt happy and their compliments were appreciated.
There was also a lot of attention in the area of, “How did you do it??” This is a dreaded question for people that choose to keep the fact that they’ve had weight loss surgery to themselves. I told them that I had been doing a lot of different things and while my diet was pretty strict for awhile, it wasn’t really as strict anymore. I told a couple of people about getting into therapy – because I really do credit therapy for helping me get THIS far…. but I did not tell any new people about surgery. I did not want it to be the topic of conversation and to be honest, I’m not close enough with any of them to confide something so personal to them. I’m not sorry that I kept it to myself, but I will admit that when my aunts say to me, “You’re such a success story!” and “You’re such an inspiration to me!” I wonder if they would feel the same way if they knew? Fortunately, this is my life and I can live it the way I want… so I don’t have to worry about it too much! 🙂
Oh, once last note on the attention. I can no longer say that I’ve never been hit on… it happened this past weekend. As I approached him, a very kind homeless man on the beach said, “You are a beautiful woman!! I saw you coming and I thought, WOAH!” hahahahahaha… so there’s that! 🙂 I have to admit that I did feel confident and sexy in the dress I was wearing on the beach that day – here is a pic!
Dress I bought to wear around the condo/beach
The wedding was a lot of fun. It was the first time I’ve been to a wedding where I felt like I could be like every other woman…. dressed up in a nice dress, looking fancy! Every wedding I have been to as an adult (and really even a kid), I’ve had to just wear my works clothes (plain shirt and black dress pants) because I wasn’t comfortable or couldn’t find nice wedding attire to wear.
In addition to feeling good and looking good, I wasn’t afraid to let loose and have fun. It has been probably a decade since I’ve been on a dance floor – because I was too clumsy to move my big body and too self-conscious to be seen by so many people. I danced A LOT at this wedding, all smiles, and super happy!! I received many compliments – even from the groom who said, “Who ARE you??!” and then told me I looked “incredible and sexy!” (in a totally appropriate, non-creepy way… trust me… his new wife (my cousin) was right there!)
Here are a couple of pics!
My Dad and I waiting for the ceremony to begin
The Not So Good Stuff
Even though I did have fun and experienced life during this trip instead of watching it pass me by, the experience wasn’t completely great. I shared a condo with a lot of other family members and that isn’t something I’ll be doing again any time soon. I learned that I am a person that needs personal space and I just don’t want to deal with the drinking, crankiness, and arguing – which is exactly what happened for most of the trip. I don’t take many days off of work and when I do, I want the time to be spent doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, and NOT listening to others fight. Lesson learned.
I ate a lot. I drank some alcohol too. I knew that I was going to and I’m ok with it. BUT, what I will say is that I did have some sad feelings that I am not at goal at this point. If I had stayed on track and weren’t going up and down so much the past 3 months, I could be at my goal. I’m not unhappy where I am or anything… but getting to about 170-175 lbs by the time this wedding came around was always where I wanted to be. I am ok with the now slow losses and the weight gain I experienced from doing what I wanted on this vacation – but now I also have to be ok with knowing that I now need to buckle down and get serious in order to bring the weight back down to the lowest I’ve been, around 196.4 lbs. There is no secret to success – if I want to lose weight, I have to make good choices. I didn’t make good choices and like I said, I’m ok with that… but I had to mentally prepare myself for what was on the scale and I have to be responsible for getting back on track now. There is nothing more frustrating to me to read people post about how they keep gaining weight and they don’t know why – yet they aren’t tracking their food, weighing/measuring what they eat, and have admitted to letting carbs/sugar back into their lives!
The final down side of this trip? My connecting flight from Philadelphia to the town where I live was cancelled. US Airways sucks! Screw them! They did NOTHING to try and accommodate the full flight of people stranded in Philadelphia other than to say they could book them on a flight 8 hours later. No offer to pay for rental cars, no other connecting flight options, no vouchers for our inconvenience. What a crappy airline! So, what happened? I ended up riding 3 1/2 hours back home with 3 strangers – what a trip! I was ready to have a vacation from my vacation by the time I got back on Monday night.
If you’ve hung in there for the entire story – thanks! I am beyond happy that I’ve made so many positive changes in my life. The way I was able to experience life and the compliments I received on this vacation made me want to stay motivated to keep working towards my goal weight and continue to work hard. It was a good reminder of why I did all of this and why I need to stay focused for the long haul! 🙂