Weighty Matters

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In the old days before my weight loss surgery (BWLS?), I didn’t have a great sense of portion control.  Honestly, I rarely looked at my plate and thought, “Holy chit, that’s a helluva lot of food” even if I’d served myself enough to satisfy a college linebacker.   No portion or meal combination appeared to be too much.  When dieting, I loathed having to weigh and measure.  I was always inwardly freaked that I would never have enough food to eat.  The way that my thought process worked, you’d think that I grew up poor in a family that didn’t know where they’d find their next meal, or if there would be a next meal.

Trust me, there was never a shortage of food.  I know now that quantity of food had less to do with nutritional needs and more to do with emotional issues but I spent a lot of years with a screwed up concept of portions.  I’m trying to unscrew that concept but it’s hard work.

****** Quick whining break******

******Okay.  Break’s over.******

When I make myself dinner, I know that not only can I not physically eat too much, but I also don’t want to eat too much.  That’s a big improvement from diets when it was more a matter of shouldn’t physically eat too much but always wanted more, no matter how “good” I promised myself I’d be.  My eye assessments are still a little off, however.  It’s like I can’t believe that I really can eat much less and still be completely nourished and satisfied.  I end up putting more on my plate than I want or need.

Even though I know that I should weight and measure my portions, I’m stubbornly determined to retrain myself.  I already understand that it is not a valid technique to eat until nausea tells me I’ve had enough.  That’s not healthy on several different counts.   Much of the time I’m doing okay with not eating too much for my stomach, but that’s because I’ve been able to stop before I hit the “too much” point.  I still put more than I need to on my plate, however.  That old habit is dying hard.  What I want to do is serve myself less from the get-go.

Since I’m not willing to break out the food scale and measuring cups, despite the encouragement to do so, I need to come up with another method.  This week I started making my dinner portions ridiculously smaller than usual and concentrating extra hard to eat slowwwwllllyyy.

That “ridiculously small” turns out to be not so ridiculous and, while smaller than usual, not smaller than I need.  Tonight I enjoyed a tender beef tip and spoonful of mixed veggies.  Not a giant, serving dish spoonful, but more like a soup spoon from my flatware setting.  I ate slowly and, when I’d consumed the last bite, I was satisfied.  Not stuffed.  Not uncomfortable.  Satisfied.

I think I’m on to something.  I’m going to continue to serve myself a lot less than I think I need and consume it slowly.  I know that I need to do this over and over and over again to reshape the habits, but each time I do so successfully, I’m one step closer.




No Room For Doubt

This time last year I was at the beginning of the liquid diet required for two weeks before my surgery.   Full liquids meant protein shakes of a certain number of calories, carbs and protein, plus cream soups, Greek yogurt, broths, sugar free Jell-O, and soupy hot cereal.  The goal was to lose weight and, hopefully, shrink down the size of my fatty liver.   Yep, it was pretty much a given that my liver would be fatty and bigger than normal.  The doctor explained to me that reducing the size of the liver would help the doctor move it out of the way when he went in to cut my stomach.

I remember at the time that I envisioned him standing over me, manipulating instruments that he’d slid in through little slices in my body (laparascopic surgery).  I couldn’t imagine what they’d use to move the liver. The surgical equivalent of a spatula or tongs?  The day before my operation, I found out that they would do the surgery robotically so the doctor wouldn’t actually stand over me.  He’d sit at the robot controls looking at my insides transmitted from an internal camera to a screen.  Overall, I thought this was kind of cool, as long as I didn’t think of it totally in terms of myself.

But I digress.

When it was time to start the liquid diet, I went overboard preparing.  I think I had three or four different varieties of protein shakes in the house because I wasn’t sure if I’d like all of them.  I stocked up on a variety of appropriate soups and yogurts, both here at home and at work.  I was determined to do this absolutely perfectly.

I was also kind of terrified that I’d screw it up.  My biggest fear was that I’d do the first ten days as well as they could be done and then lose control.  I lost sleep worrying that my compulsive eating disorder would reassert itself, I’d eat something solid a few days before my surgery and sabotage my entire effort of the previous several months.  It was definitely gut check time.  There was no room for doubt.

I psyched myself up.  Instead of staying in the space of doubt, I told myself over and over again how far I’d come, how ready I was, how excited I was to be taking this positive step to restore my health and, ultimately, save my life.  If I caught myself asking, “Can I do this?” or “How can I do this?”, I rewired the thought process.  I stopped questioning and made declarations like, “I’m doing this!” and “I’m on my way!”  It worked.   I filled up my head and heart with positive statements and shored up my self-confidence.  The good literally took over and doubt had no chance to take hold.

This turned out to be a very successful technique.  I didn’t have much difficulty after all.  I meticulously stuck to the plan and was completely ready on the day of my surgery.

There’s a saying that faith and fear cannot exist in the same place.  Faith is akin to believing in oneself and relying on self-confidence.  Fear engenders doubt.  I’m glad that I’m remembering this now because I can use this same practice any time I face a challenge where I’m possibly not quite as confident as I’d like.  I’ll nurture the confidence and determination and, literally, leave no room for doubt.



Catching Up

I took Pyxi in for a blood draw today so they could test her thyroid function.   We found out that her thyroid is underperforming and, all things considered, if there had to be a medical reason, this is the best outcome.  The doctor prescribed a supplement and, hopefully, it shouldn’t take long for us to see improvement.   She needs to lose at least five pounds.  We’ll continue with the exercise and not overfeeding her treats.  By the time we’re done, she and her brother and I are all going to be in great shape.

I’m trying not to beat myself up about not checking her blood sooner.  It would be unproductive.  I’ve been beating myself up for slacking off on their exercise for so long that she gained weight in the first place.  Now that I’ve corrected that, I don’t want to keep smacking myself around for anything else.  We’re on the right track after all.

Practically every day my friend and I chat about our upcoming trip to Hawaii.  So far, the things we know we really want to do all involve physical activity.  How cool is that?  We haven’t discovered whether our cruise ship offers Zumba, but I’m going to look when I board.  I’m also going prepared to snorkel a couple of times and we’re determined to zipline.  I love that when our travel agent suggests that we should spend some time just walking down the street along the park and beach in Waikiki I don’t reflexively flinch at the idea of walking.

I’m packing two bathing suits so that I always have one rinsed, dry and ready to go for the pool, the beach or whatever water adventure I want.

I dropped off the three large bag of purged clothes to the Salvation Army’s thrift shop.  When the woman came to the door  I told her I hoped that there were some plus sized women in town who could use some nice clothes.  She assured me that there are, so I’m confident that the garments will find good homes.

It’s weird how my perceptions continue to shift the further along I get with this journey.  Lately I’ve become hyper aware of the huge portions that are considered normal in American restaurants.  On the one hand, it’s great when I go out to eat because I’ll not only enjoy the tasty meal that night, but also the two or three times I heat up the remainder for leftovers.  On the other hand, I look at commercials for fast food restaurants, and my stomach gets queasy over foods I would formerly have chowed down on with gluttonous delight.  I don’t want to mention any by name but right now one is advertising a new cheeseburger on a pretzel bun.

I’m trying to cultivate that queasy response about fast food.  Honestly, fast food restaurants were always a big trigger for me.  Whenever I successfully dieted, I stayed away from them.  The day that I said, “I’m in a hurry.  Just this once,” usually sounded the death knell for that particular diet effort.  Decades ago, I’d go through a drive-thru and order two sodas so that the counterpeople would think I was ordering for more than one person.  Now, gratefully, I have no appetite for the value meals that I used to crave.  Sunday I was on a road trip with friends.  I’d packed snacks but we’d planned to have lunch together and our schedule ran late.  A fast food restaurant was our best choice.  It would have been easy to go with a small burger and fries.  Instead, I’m happy to say that I limited myself to a small chili with a side of apple slices.  Much better choices!

Did you know that there are trapeze schools?  A friend of mine takes trapeze classes in Boston.  I’ve seen pictures.  She looks great.  It’s a very safe activity, with the harnesses and safety lines.  It’s also good for working your core and for developing your arms and upper body strength.  Rather, if you want to progress through the trapeze class curriculum (Yes, the classes have curriculums.  Curriculi?  Whatever.)  you need to develop your arms and upper body strength.  My friend is working on her pull ups to boost her progress.

I saw her pictures and immediately thought, “What a cool thing to do.”  Now I’m on to, “What a cool thing to try!”  Yes, friends, I have now added trapeze to my promise list.  My friend told me that the company that runs her school, as well as other locations in several major cities, is planning to open a place in the next couple of years down here in the Keys.  Everyone sing with me now, “She flies through the air with the greatest of ease, the daring young woman on the flying trapeze.”

Is there anything you have on your promise list that you want to try someday?  Check in with us.



Defeating Challenges

Yesterday I watched wounded combat veterans play and swim with dolphins.  They came to the Keys for the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride, an adaptive cycling event that goes from Key Biscayne in Miami to Key West.  These men and women, while in service to our nation, incurred horrific injuries.  Some are obvious as they arrive in wheel chairs or with prosthetics taking the place of amputated limbs.  Traumatic brain injuries aren’t so visible.  Neither is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Whatever the injury, their challenges are far greater than most of us will ever experience.   It is amazing to watch these heroes forget about their injuries for a while, get  into the moment, and simply smile and laugh as they interact with the dolphins.

By comparison, my challenges seem small indeed.  In fact, there is no comparison.   Yes, I have an eating disorder but, in reality, the years I spent in relapse with the full blown eating associated with the disease, were a choice.

I’ve abused my body by making it carry so much excess weight.   Yet, right now the only daily result of that abuse is a knee that aches and is weaker than the other.   I’m so incredibly lucky.

I need to remember these men and women every day for so many reasons.  I want to think of them, and the warriors who are still in active duty deployed around the world.  I want to think of them and remember that they need my support with energy, with sharing what I’ve seen, with money when I can donate.  I pray that those who are hurt will recover and those who are serving will come home alive and unharmed.

I will take inspiration from those who face their physical challenges and live their lives in spite of having lost an arm, a leg, both legs, or even worse.  I will be grateful for every step I can take, each mile I walk or every hour that I dance in Zumba.

Thank you to all who serve.

For more information about the Wounded Warrior Project, please visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.


Weighty Matters – The Dog Edition


I have two English Cocker Spaniels.  Nat and Pyxi are brother and sister.  They’ll be six in April and we’ve been a family since they were seven months old.  He’s bigger than she is, which is normal for males.  She was always this more delicate, girly-looking dog.

Many people take better care of their furry companions than they do themselves and I’m no exception.  Over the years, with other pets, I faithfully took them to the vet for their shots, for checkups, for visits if they appeared the least bit off.  I’ll sit home self-treating myself for the flu without calling a doctor, but when/if one of my dogs is sick, I hit speed dial on the phone to reach the vet office.

I work with Nat and Pyxi, do fun training for enrichment, play and cuddle with them every day.  I’m ashamed to admit, however, that in the couple of years before my surgery when my own physical condition was at its worse, I slacked off on their exercise.  I’m doing my best to make up for that and get them into better shape.

The effort has worked for Nat.  He’s doing great.  Unfortunately, Pyxi is porky.  I’ve seen it for months and have been extra careful at monitoring her food.  I measure.  I don’t over do it with treats.  We play and I’m taking both of them out for walks more often.  However, she still needs to lose around eight pounds.  On a dog that should weigh 21 or 22 pounds, eight additional pounds are definitely too many.

I brought it up to the vet earlier in the week when a group of us were out to dinner.  We’re friends and I also work with his wife.  He said that the next time I had the kids in, he would take a good look, listen to her heart, and evaluate.  He thought that we might want to check Pyxi’s thyroid function just to be on the safe side.

Last night, the dear friend who bred my furkids and gave them to me after my beloved Brittany died was in town.  I talked with her about my concerns with Pyxi.  She came over and assessed my little girl with a visual check and a hands’ on exam.  She agreed that Pyxi is overweight, but made a particular observation that most of the pounds are carried in the middle instead of being distributed over her body.  In her expert opinion, she concurred that we should do blood work and check the thyroid function.

I told her what I feed Pyxi every day and it didn’t seem like too much food to her.

Then she said something that alarmed me, even though she was quick to say that she didn’t mean it to scare me, she just wanted to be even more on the safe side.  She suggested that I talk to the vet about the possibility of pre-Cushing’s Syndrome if the thyroid test didn’t show a problem.

As soon as she left, I naturally did an internet search because I had no idea or knowledge of Cushing’s.  It’s pretty confusing but the gist is that too much cortisol is produced and that causes problems.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen an ad for a diet product that talks about cortisol and belly fat.  I can’t actually see them, but I bet a lot of hands just went up.

Pyxi has some of the symptoms but I’m worried so I might have been picking out the things that seem like a fit for her and looking at the worst case scenario.  These same symptoms could also be from thyroid imbalance or the plain fact that she wasn’t getting enough exercise and it will take some time to work the extra weight off of her.

I woke up this morning determined to not borrow trouble but to approach this calmly.  I called the vet’s office first thing this morning and left a message, asking the vet to call me when he had a minute.  When he did a few hours later, we talked it all over and devised a plan.  I’m taking Pyxi in Monday morning for a blood draw so we can test her thyroid.  If the blood work reveals an issue, then we can treat her condition.

If the blood test is negative, we’ll do the first test for Cushing’s.  This means that I will soon face a new experience — collecting a urine sample from my dog.  I’m sure that Pyxi will be as thrilled as I am about this process, which is to say less than enthusiastic. 🙂  Doesn’t matter.  Whatever my little girl needs, I will do.

When all is said and done, I don’t want her to have either condition.  I’d rather do the tests, have them all come back negative and have the vet tell me that we need to cut her calories more and up her exercise.  I’d rather find out that I have been in denial thinking that I was doing better with her food and activity level and need to give myself a wake-up call.

Maybe we can make it all better with a lower calorie food and more activity.

Doesn’t that sound like every sensible “diet” plan we’ve ever heard?  Consume fewer calories, burn more with exercise.

When I started this blog, I never dreamed that I might one day have to discuss weighty matters that concern my dog.   I feel like a Mom with an obese child who only wants to know what she can do and how she can help her poor baby.

I’ll keep you posted.


Stress Reduction

A friend of mine is visiting the Keys this week.  She had gastric bypass surgery in October.  ( *waving*  Hi, S!)  She’s lost a good chunk of weight and sounds like she’s doing great with the recovery/food/eating  issues.

We had a nice chat this afternoon and got a bit into sharing how good it is to experience some of the things that are easier now that we’ve dropped weight.  Airplane travel, for one, which I’ve blogged about here.  Being able to feel our shoulder bones.   Fitting into plastic arm chairs and not worrying about them breaking beneath our weight.

These things, and other improvements made me think about how much losing weight reduces not only physical stress on our bodies, but also emotional and mental stress.   How much time did I spend in varying degrees of anxiety and stress while I worried about whether available chairs would hold my weight, whether I’d be able to get a seat belt extension on the plane, whether the seat belt in the rental car would fit around my winter coat-clad body, whether I’d be able to walk as far as I needed to?  How many things did I stop doing because I feared whatever negative impact my oversize body would make on the experience?

Looking back, I’m surprised that my head didn’t explode with the stress.  I’m also amazed that I didn’t always consciously feel the overwhelming stress.  Just goes to show that excessive amounts of food really can numb our emotions.

It’s only in looking back that I connect with the stress by virtue of experiencing it’s near-absence.  What a contrast!

I’ll be on a cruise in Hawaii in less than a month.  (I love saying that!)  The last time I was on a cruise ship was in May 2011 when my friend and I went to Alaska.  I had a marvelous time, but it was not without physical difficulty.  I paid a lot more for my plane ticket to the West Coast because I couldn’t stand the thought of a transcontinental flight in coach.  The ship was great, but my butt was too big to fit in the theater’s seats.  I did every excursion that I wanted to, but walking around the town in one port was excruciatingly difficult.

I don’t have any of those concerns or fears around my upcoming trip.  The flight is twice as long but my friend and I have the two seats next to each other on one side of the plane and we’ll be just fine.  I know that I’ll be able to settle in and enjoy the show without the physical discomfort of hard seats jabbing into my body.  I’m ready to snorkel, hike, and, yes, I believe that I have lost enough weight to zipline if we can fit that into our schedule in port!

Tonight, I can really feel, and celebrate, how much lighter I am in my spirit as well as my body.  It feels terrific.


There’s More to Me than the Less of Me

I think I’m quickly reaching the point where I don’t want the most prominent thing about my life to be my weight loss.  Maybe it’s just because I’ve come off of a couple of weeks where I’ve seen people for the first time since losing weight, but lately I feel like it’s all that a lot of people focus on.  There’s more to me than the fact that I’ve lost 135 pounds.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, or unexcited.  This really is a big deal for me.  It just isn’t the only deal.   Does this make me sound like a brat?

I think I’m living up to the “quite contrary” part of the old nursery rhyme.  Last week I posted a photo of me from October.  I think it’s one that I posted here when I was all dressed up for a fundraising event.  To someone who hasn’t really seen a photo of me, or seen me in person, the weight loss is really obvious — right down to my noticeable collar bones.  The amount of praise and compliments this created was staggering and wonderful and made me feel really, really great.   Clearly, I liked the reaction and derived great positive reinforcement.  So, I’m not sure why other situations or circumstances make me sigh on the inside even while I smile and thank people.

I’m really fortunate that, to most of the people I work with, it’s become much more matter-of-fact.  They might bring it up occasionally but it’s no longer a daily thing.  I love that it feels much more normal.  They were very sweet for my birthday.  Usually we mark someone’s birthday by ordering in from a local restaurant and eating together — something we rarely get to do otherwise.  My boss was frank and respectful when she came right out and asked me what I wanted to do and if this practice would fit with my food plan.  I so appreciated that consideration.  We had a really nice time out on the porch sharing the meal.  One of my closest friends at work then surprised me with a thoughtful, and yummy, dessert.  Instead of a big, calorie laden birthday cake, she researched a healthy chocolate treat and then made it.  I need to get the recipe but basically it was fake fudge made with mashed bananas, cocoa powder and a peanut product called PB2.  (Dehydrated peanut powder.  You can reconstitute it with water to make it sort of peanut buttery.  It’s tasty but drastically reduced in fat.)  The fake fudge was delicious.  We still have it in the freezer at work so we can get a treat in the afternoon if we want.

So, my birthday lunch was great because it was totally normal — just like anyone else’s birthday.

Come to think of it, my fellow students at Tai Chi don’t constantly comment about my weight loss either.  When they hadn’t seen me for a couple of weeks, they noticed change but we pretty much moved right into practicing the  set.

Maybe that’s the difference.  People I see all of the time have adjusted to my new normal.   It’s no longer a main topic of interest so we can go about the other aspects of our lives.   To people who don’t see me as often, it stands to reason that the changes are going to be more drastic to them and spark more conversation.  You know what?  When all is said and done, I can deal with those times.  I think it’s possible I was being too sensitive.  In my heart I know that my friends and acquaintances know there’s more to me than my weight loss.

Does this read like I pulled a 180?  I guess I did, but that’s the benefit of working these things out on the blog.  Thanks for listening! 🙂



No Comparisons

Has anyone else watched the beginning episodes of this season’s Biggest Loser?  I could never have tried out for that show.  For all that I am committed to publicly sharing about my weight loss journey, I do it to process my issues, hold myself accountable, and work my way through every step.  I don’t think I could have gone on to a television show to lose weight with such incredible guerilla tactics and play out all of the drama and effort with a camera and crew always in my face.

I also would have cried the first time that a trainer yelled at me.   Physically, if I’d gone on the show at 386 pounds, I doubt my right knee would have lasted through the first week.

I watched the first two episodes and during the introductory weigh-ins, saw some contestants who weighed much more than I did before my surgery as well as some who are about the weight that I am now, give or take 10 or 20 pounds.  On the first night, which represented their first week at the ranch, I didn’t see anybody that breezed through the initial two and a half hour workout.  I couldn’t have run on a treadmill at 5 mph the first time out.  Hell, last year I could barely walk a couple of blocks without breathing heavy.  Any faster and I gasped to suck in air.

I realized that right now, I’m more fit than even the ones who weigh less than I do.  It makes me really glad that I started increasing my exercise as soon as I physically could after the surgery.  I also know that these brave contestants are going to blow right by me on the fitness level in a very short period of time.  They devote hours each day to their workouts.  The results are going to show.  When I tune in next week, I need to be really careful not to compare where I am to where those contestants have brought themselves.

Each of us is different.  Our bodies have a different history; we have different metabolisms.  Gender, age and a wealth of other factors affect the rate of our weight loss.

If you read the comments on my previous post, you’ll see that Pink Pelican has lost 210 pounds!  That is phenomenal.  If I remember right, she had the same surgical procedure as I did but about six months before me.  I have to say that my second reaction, after cheering for her, was to compare where I am now with where she might have been six months ago.   I want to see if, six months from now, I could actually have lost the rest of the weight that I want to take off.

Here’s the bottom line.  The answer is, “Maybe”.  Like I said two paragraphs ago, we’re all different.  Comparing ourselves to others doesn’t really accomplish anything.  I shouldn’t measure my success against someone else’s.  I also need to remember that the numbers are out of my control.  I could be absolutely perfect on my food plan and do my exercise five times a week but only see the number on the scale go down a little, or even not at all for a week or two.  My body might decide to jam on the breaks for whatever reason and a stall will set in.

Comparisons lead to frustrations, in my personal opinion.  Given that my eating disorder sometimes infects me with messed-up thinking, if I constantly compared myself to someone else who was losing at a faster rate, it could screw with my emotions.  Then I’d feel bad and might, possibly want to run to food to anesthesize the bad feelings.

So, for today, I’m reminding myself to make no comparisons.  I am me, and I’m the only one I need to worry about.  One day at a time, I only need to focus on my food plan and exercise strategies.  As long as I do that, I will get to my goal.  The amount of time it takes doesn’t matter in the least.



I was talking with a friend on the phone today.  She’s in the middle of a divorce.  Another friend of ours was just asked for a divorce.  These are painful, difficult times for them.  All I can do is send up love, virtual hugs, and as much encouragement and positive energy as I can.

In the phone conversation my friend told me that her husband is acting harsh, saying mean and hurtful things.  I said to her, “After so many years of marriage, he knows where to aim.  He knows what to say to emotionally hurt you the most..”

Shortly after the phone call, I logged onto Facebook.  There’s an article making the rounds that gives women solid practical how to act and react if someone comes after you.  The gist of the advice was how not to look vulnerable.

Consequently, vulnerability is much on my mind today.  I’ve lived on my own for so long and I’m pretty practiced at how to protect myself, be aware of my surroundings, look like I’d be more trouble to attack than a potential mugger or rapist would want to deal with.  That’s pretty much all external.  Inside, I’m as vulnerable to being hurt as I ever was.  I’m a curious mix of toughness and sensitivity.  I can shrug off a lot of bull crap from people who don’t mean anything to me, but put me in conflict with a someone I care about and it will hit me hard.

When I’ve been in a relationship for a while, I do my best to be open-hearted, although I know that I guard myself to some extent.  Yet, even with that guardedness, when the relationships have ended, my heart has ached and I’ve cried over the loss.

Maybe it was being around so many good looking men in uniform this weekend, or just a logical progression as my body, weight, and emotional self-esteem about my own attractiveness and body improve, but I’ve been thinking a bit more about the possibility of dipping a toe back into the dating pool.   I’m not ready to walk to the end of the plank diving board, leap off in a beautiful swan dive and plunge in, but I’m considering.

I’m a bit apprehensive.  Part of me thinks, “You’re 55.  Why bother now?”  (Yep, I turn 55 tomorrow.)  Another part of me thinks, “You’re 55.  Why not now?”  Still another part of me thinks, “Is it time for a snack?”

It’s hard to willingly open up the vulnerable parts of ourselves, take a chance and risk getting hurt again.  Then again, faint heart never won anybody anything or anyone.

I don’t have to decide today.  I don’t need to rush to join an online dating service or start going out more often to see what options might be swimming in local waters.  I guess all I need to do, just for today, is be open to thinking about it.


Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down

Your support after my rant helped me a great deal, so I want to thank you again for being here, being part of the Weighty Matters community and lending your voices and thoughts.

I’ve had a great weekend.  I’ve mentioned the leadership program in which I’m participating and we just had an action packed two days learning about the Law and the Military participation in our community.  Allow me a shallow moment as I confess that I participated in some discreet ogling of very hot men in uniform.  I don’t care that most of them were young enough to relegate me to cougar status.  These men were definitely supremely ogle-worthy.

I shared in a comment on ReFab that, after the incident of Thursday night with the obnoxious man, I made a point to let it go.  I dressed for the first leadership day in a fun, comfortable, cute dress that I bought over the summer.  Because of the design, which has some patterned elastic across the midsection, it gets smaller as I do.  It was also a purple patterned material and purple is my favorite color.  The dress just makes me smile.  So all day on Friday I felt good, peppy and pretty in my fun dress.  I also, once more, was grateful that my reduced size and increased fitness mean I could do all of the walking we put in as we were given tours of the court house, old jail, new and big detention center and the Key West police department.

I wish I’d thought to start the pedometer app on my smart phone today because we trekked all over a couple of different places like the Underwater Operations Training area of the Navy base, the Coast Guard sector including a 110-foot cutter, and a few other places. May I also say that I have an even greater, deeper respect for the people who serve in our nation’s military.  We listened to a woman colonel who heads up the South command of a joint interagency task force that battles illegal trafficking.  Mostly drugs, but also arms, money, human trafficking.  Touring that cutter, we could see that the accommodations are sparse and the comfort level quite low, but people actually enlist to serve in the Coast Guard.  I am eternally grateful that I’ve lost so much weight.  I could not have fit up the very narrow stairway from the deck to the bridge.  I don’t think my knee could have taken the steepness on its own and it would have been damn hard to haul myself up.

Did you know that there are Adversary Squadrons in several locations around the country?  Their job is to train in the combat flight techniques and tactics of potential enemies.  Then, they play the bad guys in training flight missions so that our combat pilots can better learn how to successfully fight the enemy.  Pretty damn cool.

These are just a couple of the things I experienced.  It was a terrific, informative, interesting weekend and I enjoyed every minute.  I enjoyed it more because of the improvements to my body.   My head is crammed with info and mentally, I’m exhausted.  However, if I wasn’t in much better shape, my body would feel broken tonight and I’d have already knocked back a good dose of an OTC pain reliever.    Instead, I’m relaxed and a good kind of tired.  Tomorrow, I’ll bounce out of bed and go for a bridge walk.  You really can’t keep a good woman down!