Weighty Matters

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Traveling Lighter

on August 17, 2012

I’m on vacation! Woot! (Alert: My house isn’t empty. I have people taking care of pets, plants, etc.)

Regardless of one’s weight, travel is often tiring. When you’re morbidly obese, it’s downright exhausting and there are extra aspects over which to stress. Simply hauling a suitcase out of the car and wheeling it to the ticket counter is a chore. In a big airport like Miami where the concourses are super long, getting to the gate feels like a death march.

If I was going anywhere for longer than a weekend, I could never pack light, even in the summer. Large size clothes weigh more. When I’d pack for a writers conference, I frequently needed two outfits per day. Good luck getting that in a single suitcase that weighed no more than 50 pounds. (40 pounds if traveling on Spirit.) Winter time? Forget staying under the weight limit with sweaters, heavier pants, and so on.

Then there’s the plane itself. Remember a few years ago when director/writer Kevin Smith was hassled on Southwest for his weight and they wanted him to purchase an extra seat? I lived in agonizing fear of that happening to me. I’ve also purposely never flown Southwest because I understood that I couldn’t select my seat ahead of time and couldn’t breathe over the possibility that I might get stuck in a middle seat. I started flying Spirit when I still lived in New Jersey because it flew direct from my home area of Atlantic City to South Florida. Then I started paying more for the privilege of flying in a Big Front Seat — larger seat with only two per row. A few years ago, if a flight was longer than two hours and Spirit wasn’t a possibility, I’d pay extra to fly first class all for my comfort and that of anyone who had to share my row.

Years ago I got over the humiliation of needing to ask for a seat belt extender. Correction. I stopped risking my safety by pretending I’d buckled my seat belt. Point to flight attendants for being discreet when they handed it over.

Let’s face it. Airplanes are not built to accommodate large passengers. The seats are too small. If I wasn’t in first class or a big front seat, I’d choose an aisle seat so I could contort myself over as far as possible and now mash the unfortunate person in the middle seat. I could never lower the tray table enough because of my stomach. Thank God I had a resilient bladder because I was downright scared to squeeze myself into the torture chamber known as an airplane restroom.

Since January, I’ve taken three trips that involved air travel. The first, in April, happened when I’d lost about 60 pounds. I still needed a seat belt extender, but I wasn’t worn out just getting my suitcase from place to place. For the two trips in May I flew Jet Blue and discovered that all seat belts are not created equal in length. I’d dropped around 75 pounds at that point, give or take a few. On one flight I didn’t need the extender, but I did on the other three.

Now I’ve lost 105 pounds. Tomorrow I’m taking a leap of faith, or at least a seat of faith. I’m not even going to ask for the extender when I first board. I’m going to remember that along with the weight, I’ve reduced my waist by around five inches. Surely the seat belts will fit. (Don’t call you Shirley?) I already know that I’m much, much, much more mobile so the entire experience is going to be significantly easier.

In luggage, body and spirit, I’m definitely traveling lighter!

Little extra spirit boost tonight. Since my flight leaves super early in the morning, I drove up to the mainland tonight. A short time after gnoshing something for dinner, I took advantage of the hotel’s fitness center. I did 20 minutes of brisk pedaling on the recumbent bike, followed by 20 minutes of quick walking on the treadmill. Thanks to my weight loss and attitude, I’m seriously sloughing off my slothfulness. Say that three times fast! ;-)

Edited this a.m.: Had another thought as I went thru the TSA checkpoint. The poor person who has to look at all those full body scans now gets less of an eye full.

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5 responses to “Traveling Lighter

  1. Mary Stella says:

    Happy to report that the seat belt fit! Woot!

  2. robena grant says:

    You go girl! Have a great vacation.

  3. Susanne says:

    “seriously sloughing off my slothfulness” — LOVE IT!!!

    Enjoy your vacation.

    Susanne

  4. Liz Flaherty says:

    Have a great vacation!

  5. kipper43 says:

    I am so with you on all the traveling and fears. I am glad to hear you are on vacation and hope you thoroughly enjoy it. I did not fly for years because of my weight. I have missed out on a lot of fun times with family and friends. Thanks to Celie and my own determination I am not going to let that happen anymore! I turn 50 the end of this month and can’t wait for what lies ahead once I have surgery in October! Look forward to flying down and seeing you in SeptemberšŸ¬

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