Weighty Matters

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More Than Half Way

I don’t have a goal weight in mind.  My doctors and I haven’t discussed an actual number.  According to the Center for Disease Control, a healthy weight for a woman of my height falls between 114-144 pounds with a body mass index between 18.5-25.

I think my right leg weighs more than 114 pounds.  This is why I don’t allow myself to get hung up on defining the ultimate goal in an actual number, or at least not in actual numbers that fall within that range.  If I fixate on that I will slowly drive myself insane.

So far on my journey, I was over the moon to get below 300 pounds.  Right now, my eye is on the distant prize of weighing less than 200 pounds.  When I hit that mark some months from now, that’s when I’ll consider choosing a goal weight.  At that point, my doctors and I will transition me from a “losing” food plan to a “maintenance” plan.

Personally, I think if I can be somewhere between 170 and 185, I’ll be content.  Content?  Hell, I’ll metaphorically turn cartwheels and then see if I can do them physically, too!

Even without a concrete single number, I believe it’s safe and accurate to claim that I’m more than halfway to goal.  I lost the 10 pounds that I wanted to in August and am on track for the goal I set when I hit the 100 pound weight loss.  I said that I wanted to lose another 50 pounds by the end of the year.  That could be a really ambitious number, or it could be easy.  I have no way to know because there’s no telling if or how my metabolism will adjust as I progress.  Perhaps it will be kinder to shoot for an 8 to 10 pound per month loss over the next few months.  Given my innate ability to beat up on myself, I think the range-type goal is more likely to set me up for success.

Over on ObesityHelp.com, we can make cute little trackers for ourselves.  Some of us (like me) set ours to show how many pounds we’ve lost.  Others show how many pounds they have to lose to hit goal.  Some people do both.  Whether in my head I’m adding up the pounds lost total or counting down to a goal, I’m still going to celebrate that I’m more than half way there.




Acknowledging Success

It strikes me that some of the things that I count as big successes in this journey might seem smaller, almost no-brainers to others.   I accept that even the closest friends or family members might not understand why some things are a big deal to me.  It’s okay.  I don’t expect someone who doesn’t have an eating dysfunction or some other disorder to understand.  It’s enough that they’re happy that I’m happy and that I’m making positive changes and being successful in the overall endeavor.

Whatever the case, it’s important for me, or anyone that’s fighting a good fight against a major life issue, to recognize and acknowledge success.  Sometimes it’s a little battle won; other struggles are big freaking obstacles that require a great deal of effort to break through.  Large or small, the successes still should be acknowledged.  I believe doing so positive rewards us and reinforces the effort.  It helps me each time I modify an old behavior or make a healthier choice instead of sliding back into an old way.  Marking the success further contributes to the behavior change.  It’s like adding mortar to bricks when building a wall.  I’m solidifying my defenses against my disease.

I’m not going to run out and buy myself an expensive gift every time I resist temptation and don’t overeat.  There are lots of different ways to reinforce my healthier, more appropriate choices and behaviors.  Sometimes it’s enough to smile and celebrate the moment.  You might be surprised how good it feels to do those simple things.  Take it from someone who’s really good at beating up on herself, a mental pat on the back and “Atta girl!” does wonders.

You might also be surprised to know that coming to this blog and openly writing about the successes, the NSVs, the improvements both major and minor, carries a lot of weight.   I’ve long known that bringing the painful secrets out into the open helps reduce their power.  There’s a saying I learned in OA that we’re only as sick as our secrets.  I’m happy to say that sharing the bright spots contributes to a healthier, happier life.

So, my thought for today is that we should make the time to celebrate successes big and small.   Acknowledging positive progress keeps us moving with more energy in our bright futures.


Moving Toward Joy

Ironically, the day after I posted about pre-bariatric patients experiencing stress over their surgery dates, a friend of mine texted me.  Her doctor gave her a date in early October.  She’s excited and I’m glad for her.

I spent some time wondering about the genuine happiness I’m experiencing.  After substantial pondering, I realized that the reasons behind my reaction aren’t all that complex or unusual.  I know where I was this time last year, at the beginning of the journey, and the excitement and anticipation filling my heart.  Confirming the surgery date let me countdown to the actual date when my life would change forever.

Above all, I only have to look at where I am today with the remarkable, huge, positive changes I’ve experienced in slightly more than seven months.  From total despair a year ago to unfettered joy in today and boundless hope for the future.   Great things are within her grasp.

It takes a lot to overcome resistance and fear, make the decision and move forward.  It can be downright terrifying to consider giving up the comfort of our overeating security blanket.

I’m proud of her for facing the fear and not letting it thwart her determination.   Good for you, S.  Don’t let anything or anybody stop you from moving forward to your joy.



It’s a Process

When working toward weight loss surgery, it seems like a lot of people get hung up on when the surgery will get scheduled.  I’ve seen a lot of people post stressed out messages on forums while they wait to complete their pre-surgery tests and evaluations, while they wait for insurance approval, while they wait for their doctor’s calendars to clear.

I have a  personal friends who are waiting for their dates to be confirmed and some of them also seem nervous or anxious, mixed in with the eagerness and excitement.

I was the same way.  It was an odd twist to go from years of resisting the very thought of bariatric surgery to wanting to have it done ASAP.  It’s almost as if, having made the decision, I suddenly couldn’t wait to move forward, get the surgery, and be on my way to losing weight.

Along about the end of November/beginning of December, I experienced a lot of anxiety myself.  It wasn’t easy to accomplish all of those tests.  First I needed the initial consult with each specialist.  Next, we scheduled whatever test said specialist required.  Then I had to go back to the specialist for the test results and approval.  My brother and sister-in-law were flying in to be my post-surgery support team.  Due to other commitments they had, we determined that my surgery needed to be scheduled on January 25th, or we’d have to wait until mid-February.  I preferred a January date because I could more easily take four weeks off from work at that time, rather than having my medical leave roll into high tourist season.

Since J & P needed to book flights, I couldn’t wait until the last evaluation was completed sometime in early January.  I finally called the surgeon and threw myself on the mercy of the surgery coordinator.  I explained that I absolutely would have every single last evaluation and approval completed in time and begged her to put me on the calendar for January 25th.

“Ok.  We can do that,” she said.

Turns out I’d put myself through a whole helluva lot of needless stress.  I’ve come to understand that there are many things in life that create legitimate anxiety, so we’re much better off when we avoid the needless variety.  Good life lesson.

I know that I had a very real time constraint, since I sure didn’t want to go through the operation with my family’s on-scene support, but I realized something along the way.  Even without that constraint, I probably would have been like so many others — anxious and nervous until I received my actual surgery date.

In hindsight, I realize something else that I try to share with my friends when they sound stressed about the when of it all.  This is a journey, a process, and they’re already in it.  I started the process the day that I went for the free seminar.  Everything that happened after that day was another step on the journey and everything was forward progress.   All things considered, the “when” is secondary to making the commitment in the first place.  No commitment, no journey, no forward progress.

Today I need to remember that I’m still on the journey.  I’ve had some intermittent impatience.  You know, some of us with diseased thinking are often real pieces of work.  Like losing more than 100 pounds already isn’t good enough or fast enough.  Everytime that thought crosses my mind, I want to go all Cher on myself, deliver a stinging slap to my own face and shout, “Snap out of it!”

The only truth on which I need to focus is that if I continue to do what I’m supposed to, the weight will continue to decrease, and I will eventually get to my goal.  It could be six months, eight months, or even a year from now.  The timing is not as important as the daily execution of the plan.  Losing all of my excess weight isn’t an event.  It’s a process.  Telling myself, sometimes over and over, about the process reduces my impatience and calms my sporadic anxiety.  It is also a really effective tool when I’m tempted to stray too far away from the plan.  I can say, “You want to make progress as fast as you can?  Don’t eat that (fill in carb or sweet food).  Eat this (fill in appropriate food item) instead.”

You’d be surprised how much that self-talk helps.  It’s another thing that I’ve learned I will respond to.  Always good to figure out something  more about ourselves.  The development of improved self-awareness is a process too.


Storm Success!

The worst of Tropical Storm Isaac has passed.  All in all, it hasn’t been too bad.  The wind is still blowing some gusts and kicking up the waves, but I’ve seen worse with no-named storms.  I’m so happy that this was the case for my home, my workplace, and all of my friends and neighbors.   Now we all need to keep some good thoughts for people up in the Gulf Coast region.  Unfortunately, the storm could gain strength over warm water while it makes its way north.

So, I survived my first storm event post weight-loss surgery.  I’m happy to report that I did not engage in an all-out food and binge fest today.  Whatever underlying stress or anxiety might have lingered did not trigger me to go into nervous overeating.  I had my regular protein shake for breakfast.  My “mid-morning” snack was a half a piece of whole grain toast with a small schmear of low fat cream cheese.  (Nat & Pyxi split the other half.)  For lunch, I mixed up a fruit smoothie with non-fat yogurt, a little milk, and chunks of banana and strawberries that I’d frozen with a half scoop of protein powder.  I just realized that I skipped my afternoon snack because I dozed off for half an hour, but I just ate an early dinner of some leftover roast pork with mixed veggies and a forkful of rice.

The second cupcake is still in my fridge.  I took a forkful of the salted chocolate frosting just to taste but wasn’t hungry for dessert so I left the rest.

Can I just share how freaking amazing it is that I’ve had a cupcake in my house for an entire extra day and haven’t eaten it??  Does that sound strange to all of you that something relatively simple is, actually, freaking amazing for me?  I guess it might be difficult to understand for someone who isn’t a compulsive-binge overeater.  In the old, diseased eating days, I’d gobble down sweets just because they existed within reach.  Whether I actually was hungry didn’t matter.

While I am not yet perfect at controlling the impulse to eat food I’m not hungry for, I’ve improved a lot.  I win the battle over the compulsion more often than I lose it and that is infinitely better than I used to do when I had next to zero control.

I’m feeling a little bit of cabin fever now.  It’s still a bit too stormy to walk outside, so I’m going to do some more Zumba dancing.   I don’t expect to go into work tomorrow.  Management is only asking a small crew to come in to put things back around in the public areas so that we can open to visitors on Tuesday.  I talked to my friend who is one of the Zumba instructors in town.  Usually they have a 10:15 Zumba Gold class on Mondays.  If they hold one tomorrow, I’m going to take advantage of the chance to go.  It will be another way to celebrate my storm success!


Anxiety Food

It’s Saturday night and I spent big chunks of my day preparing my boat, house and property for a storm that’s due to hit the Keys sometime tomorrow.  Right now, this “rain with a name” is still Tropical Storm Isaac.  There has been endless discussion, with a look at “official” National Hurricane Center updates every three hours, on whether it’s going to be Hurricane Isaac by the time it arrives near my island chain sometime tomorrow night.  The coverage has been relentless on wind fields, vapor loops, forecast tracks, and the dreaded cone.  For those of you who don’t live where hurricanes are always a real possibility, that cone shows where the center of the storm might go.  Down here with embrace black humor and call it the cone of death.

While none of us takes a storm lightly, we also tend to not let ourselves get whipped up into a frenzy of hysterical proportions.   The national news media manages to dial up the drama and this often causes great anxiety for my friends who start calling to see if I’m evacuating.   I’m not.   While there is no doubt that I’ll feel strong effects, this is not projected to strengthen past a Category One level storm.  Even if it reaches hurricane strength, if the center stays south and west of me, I’ll experience tropical storm force winds.   The county emergency management team did not order a resident evacuation.  In fact, they didn’t even order the tourists and visitors to leave.

I’m confident in my preparations.  I have excellent storm shutters on every door and window, which I spent significant time installing today.  I also secured my boat high on the lift and added extra lines, although I don’t expect a storm surge high enough to float it off of its perch.   I’ve moved most of my porch furniture inside and stowed away various outdoor objects in the shed.  The rest of the stuff I need to do will take about ten minutes, so I’ll have time tomorrow morning.

The standard guideline for provisions is three days of drinking water and three days of food.    These days, three days worth for me is a lot less food than in previous years.   I realized that if I lost power for three days, I could easily survive on cheese wedges that don’t need refrigeration, peanut butter, and protein shakes.  When I shopped, I also bought a few “boxes” of milk that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, just for those protein shakes.  I also have some soups and canned stuff that I could heat in a pot on the grill if necessary.

Stocking my supplies was, indeed, far easier.  It made me think about my food behavior in similar situations in previous years.  Honestly, we haven’t faced a storm with this kind of surety that it would affect us in several years.  That didn’t stop me from thinking about how I would always experience anxiety over food, regardless of how well I’m planned and provisioned.  The mere thought of a remote chance that I wouldn’t have enough food, or enough food that I liked, always put me on edge.  I’d get in supplies and then usually run out again to buy more — just in case.   Once the storm event began and I was shut up in the house with Moe, the Brittany spaniel I had back when we had active storm seasons, I wanted to eat all of the time.   I don’t know why I did this, but eventually decided that the thought of being blocked from getting out to buy more food triggered anxiety.  There was a horrible irony in that I was so obsessed with having enough food in the house that I’d overeat — thus going through my provisions more quickly.

I also always had sweets in the house.  Along with water and food, officials suggest having prescription medications for three days.  In my case, chocolate, cookies and breakfast pastries were my medications.

This time, I purposely did not pick up chocolate or cookies when I hit the supermarket for supplies.  Even today when I realized I’d forgotten to get that milk, I left the store without loading up on sugar snacks.  I mentioned this to a good friend of mine and talked about having anxiety-coping foods.  She asked if I could buy a small amount to have around just in case.  I doubted my ability to limit myself to “just in case”.  I was determined to make it through.

Unfortunately, that determination eroded under a mounting anxiety.  As I went through the morning and early afternoon, I kept thinking and wondering how I’d deal if I really, really, really needed chocolate to help me cope when the storm was at its worst.    The anxiety fueled doubt in my ability to deal with the situation.

Would it be better to tough it out, no matter how anxious I got — or was I better off getting in that small supply and trusting myself to not gorge on it just because it was available?  I finally caved and got into the car for a quick trip to the cupcake bakery in town.  I bought two cupcakes — one a bacon maple and one in salted chocolate and caramel.  I vowed not to compulsively eat them both in a rush as soon as I got home.  These were going to be savored and they were going to serve as my security blanket if I found myself getting truly, authentically, anxious as the storm progressed.

So, earlier tonight I gradually consumed the bacon maple treat.   I can identify the motivation to falling prey to hunger, anger/anxiety, isolation and tiredness.  (No surprise that OA recommends H.A.L.T. as a tool — a reminder not to let ourselves get too hungre, angry, lonely, or tired.)  I had a number of things sneak up on me in a cumulative effort to destroy my serenity.

I wish I could say that the cupcake didn’t help, but it did.  However, it’s really important to note that I didn’t gobble it down like a hog.   I tasted and savored.  I ate small bites of it and spaced those bites over hours, not nanoseconds.  When I was finally finished with the last portion — six of six portions, by the way — I realized that my anxiety had eased and, oh is this a big “and”, I didn’t need to keep eating.  I didn’t find a reason to stroll back into the kitchen and start consuming the second cupcake.  It’s still in the box in the fridge.  That’s progress!

It’s also only fair to point out that I did a lot of physical labor today prepping for the storm.  Even with the lifting, shuttering, etc., I found time to check out my Zumba Dance program for the Wii.  I worked my way through the step tutorials and then did a few Beginner routines.  Even those were enough to work up a sweat for 40 minutes!

So, yes, I saw, I bought, I ate.  I did not, however, do so unconsciously and I didn’t binge on the food either.  Instead, I learned a lesson about myself and how I might eat as a result of stress and other situations.   I also learned that anxiety over food might come from the head, but it feels very, very real.  It’s a good thing that, while I felt more comfortable once I brought the cupcakes into the house, I really could control how they were eaten.  That control is progress!


Time for Me, Time for Other Things.

Today’s been an odd mixture of events.  For one, I had the frustration of the solar power company not coming to the house as planned to fix my system and install the new parts.  I know it’s for an ultimately good reason — the original guy I spoke with doesn’t think I’d want the planned unit installed inside a fugly metal box hanging on the outside of my cute house so he wants them to build something in the same material as the exterior siding.  However, this repair job has been one screw up after  another and now I’m facing a tropical storm without my back up power unit.

The good news is that the storm named Isaac is still projected to be tropical storm force and not hurricane strength when it goes by the Keys.  I have everything that Nat, Pyxi and I need and time tomorrow to prepare my house, boat and property.  Still, planning for this at home and at work takes time and communication.  I had today off as the end of my vacation but needed to be part of several phone calls, text messages, etc.

However, these did not interfere with my original plans for the day.  At 1 p.m., I went to the salon for an afternoon of service.  This began with a wonderful facial, followed by a thorough session of reflexology on my feet.  My esthetician/friend is studying reflexology and needs to practice on several of us as she learns.  If you have never experienced this treatment, I can’t recommend it highly enough.  Oh, the relaxation!  How relaxed did  I get during the hour?  I dozed off a few times while she worked on the points of my feet.  Heavenly!

After that it was time for a hair color and cut.  I’m now sporting a sassy style that’s somewhat shorter than before and love it.

I firmly believe doing these services are not an indulgence.  Me days are an essential part of self-care!  Remember that and schedule some in for yourselves.

Tonight I’m home with my dogs.  Nat, Pyxi and I were all very happy to see each other after being separated for a week.  I have all of the supplies the three of us will need through the storm.   I feel great from the top of my newly cut and colored hair to my pampered face, to the soles of my carefully tended-to feet.  Ahhhhhhhh.

I also spent some time today putting up some photos and a video from my recent whale watching trip.  You can check them out at my other blog Postcards in Paradise.

I’ve also had a great food day and am shortly going to check out my new Zumba Dance DVDs for home use in the Wii system.

No matter how much time I have to spend on other things, I’ve decided that there’s always time for me.




Things Learned on Vacation

After a long day of travel, I got home about an hour ago and wanted to check in and say hello.  I had a wonderful vacation with family and friends.   I relaxed a lot in the warmth and camaraderie, celebrated some NSVs, and either learned or was reminded about some real truths.  I also went on a fabulous whale watching trip and will post some photos as soon as I download them to the computer.

I’m really tired so if my writing is a little disjointed, please forgive me.  I thought it was important to get my thoughts out rather than delay.

As far as the NSVs, I talked about a couple of them in the previous post — the easy buckling of the airplane seat belt and the XL size T-shirt.  I swear, those accomplishments make me grin whenever I think of them.  I had another one yesterday when I went into the pool at the house we rented.  Okay, it wasn’t so much when I went into the pool but when it was time to get out.  I was able to pull myself up the ladder without the slightest bit of trouble.  I also didn’t feel like I might possibly break the ladder with my excess weight.   It clearly could hold me and that alone relieves a bunch of stress.

It seems like every day, or every time that I do some sort of physical activity, I reinforce my new attitude about movement and exercise.  I’ve thought of myself as lazy for so long, that this is somewhat of a wonder.  On Tuesday, the whale watching company wanted us to buy our tickets on site a couple of hours before the 10:30 a.m. departure.  I got up early and was there by 8:15.  The ticket seller gave me directions into town where I could enjoy breakfast.  In the past, I definitely would have taken my car to drive, but I immediately decided to go by foot.  Barnstable Village is a charming place and I enjoyed a brisk 20 minute walk to a little diner.  I ate a small meal that fit my food plan, drank some tea, and then walked back to the boat — another 20 minutes.  Along the way I kept thinking about how I’m not a lazy ass any longer and was truly happy to have done 40 minutes of exercise.

I never made it to a Zumba class.  Other activities interfered with the timing, but I did walk at least once each day.  While my exercise regime might not have been as intense as I’ve been doing at home, I at least moved.

Our accommodations are comfortable, but very simple and we like it this way.  We spent a lot of time relaxing out on the lawn in conversation.  I don’t think I mentioned that it’s quite a large group of us that gathers.  We had more than 70 people around on the weekend, but even after Sunday, there were 20 to 30 of us around.  This makes for a lot of great talking, group food prep, and fun.  The outdoor chairs are green plastic-resin.  For years I have not trusted these things to hold up under my weight, particularly because they’ve weathered some.  For our annual book discussion or any other outdoor relaxation, I’ve always brought out one of the sturdier wooden chairs.  Not this year.  Not only didn’t I fear that the plastic legs would break, but my butt actually fit on the seat!

Foodwise, I’m going to be rigorously honest and admit that I wasn’t great.  I wasn’t awful either, but I definitely ate too many carbs.  In thinking about this today I realized that it was probably a taste of what my life will be like when I’m on a maintenance plan.   Tonight, I’m encouraged by my mindset.  Starting tomorrow morning, I’m back on the losing plan that emphasizes protein first.  This is a huge improvement over previous “diets” where once I veered off, I rarely got myself back together.

For those of you who check out weather reports, there’s a tropical storm heading toward the Keys that could be a hurricane.  In planning my preparations, I realized another benefit to bariatric surgery.  It’s a lot easier to lay in storm provisions!  If worse comes to worse and we lose power, I can get by with some parmalait milk that I could mix up into protein shakes, some cheese wedges that don’t need to be refrigerated, fresh fruit, peanut butter, and fresh water.   I have a backup power system that runs my fridge and microwave, so I’d only be limited to the above if the power outage extended for several days.  Still, it’s good to know that things could be so simple, particularly if we get any storms this season that require a resident evacuation.  For this storm, I fully expect that I can safely stay put!

Some might wonder why it’s so important and helpful for me to note and share about all these things.  All I can say is that doing so reinforces the positive effects of my progress.  It matters that I really focus on and celebrate the accomplishments, realizations and NSVs.  I don’t ever want to take these things for granted or get lacksadaisical about the improvements in my life.  These are things on which to build and steeping myself in the joy inspires me to stay on track and keep moving forward.



Checking In

Greetings from lovely Cape Cod.

I’m sitting here sipping on my protein shake while a table full of friends chows down on omelets made by another friend.  Our weekend was filled with warmth, long time friendship, laughter, conversation, and food.

Lots of food around.  Temptation is everywhere, but I’m doing okay.  I’ve probably had a few too many carbs — it’s hard to avoid them when the whole point of yesterday was a spaghetti cook off and people have also brought in really tasty bread and delicious pies — but I’m not overeating and that is a huge plus for me.

I mentioned in a comment a day or so ago that I experienced the big NSV on the plane that the seat belt fit.  I didn’t even have to pull or tug.  It buckled without strain and I have a couple of inches to spare!  Yesterday, I put on a regular XL sized T-shirt for the first time in more than 25 years.  It’s a unisex, not ladies cut, but I felt terrific and it really showed my weight loss.  No, I forgot to take a photo.

Tangible evidence of positive progress is so important.  I recommend to everyone on any kind of personal health improvement journey that you seek out and recognize these progress points.  Celebrate them as often as possible.

Amid all of the activity and tribal camaraderie, I took a good thirty minute walk yesterday.  I looked up local Zumba classes and plan to go to one either tonight or tomorrow, depending on our other group plans.  Regardless, I’ll get out for another walk today, maybe two.  We’re big walkers in this group.

I’m having a great time, but I’m also well aware that I need to maintain a healthy vigilance about my food plan.  I can take a vacation from work, but not from the rest of my life.  The urge to eat compulsively, never really takes a vacation and with all of the food around it would be easy to eat things not on my food plan — not in quantity, of course — but the content matters.  If I fill up on junk, I can’t put in what my body really needs with the protein and so on.

The good news is that I’m not super stressed about it.  So far, I’m not feeling any resentment either.  Add everything up and I feel good in body and mind.

Onward and upward.  More good times ahead today!



Traveling Lighter

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.