Weighty Matters

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Last Cruise Day

Spotty 3G again yesterday prevented me from posting. Sorry!

We had an easy day yesterday. We took a bus tour to Waimea Canyon. It’s gorgeous but all in all the trip was boring.

I also went on a bit of a food frolic by eating too many carbs and sugary crap. I felt sort of sluggish after the long bus ride. When we got back to the ship I did a couple of laps around the deck to recover.

Yesterday evening we cruised the Na’Pali coastline which is breathtaking! Whales were also all around including one very active baby. I caught its breaches and tail slaps on my camera so you’ll see photos in the future.

This morning we disembark and spend the day in Honolulu, including touring Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona. Our flight leaves tonight. It’s going to be a lonnngg journey home.

This was definitely one of the best vacations of my life, packed with adventures and new experiences. I am both elated and humbled. I could not physically have done this had I not lost weight and gotten more fit. My determination is also refreshed to reach my goals and then maintain the new, healthy me.

Thanks for taking the trip with me. Aloha and Mahalo.







Zodiac Boats & Ziplining

Sorry for no post yesterday but I didn’t have reliable enough 3g service to connect to the Internet.

No photos<right now either because the activities were to risky for me to use my phone. I didn't want to
drop it overboard or down thru the trees.

Yesterday we docked in Kona on the big island of Hawai'i. We mustered early and joined a dozen other people to board a Captain Zodiac inflatable boat for a zippy ride and great snorkeling.

Picture the big rubber boats that the US Navy uses. They're very stable but not luxurious. Who needs luxury when you're going for fun? We took our seats on the rubber sides, slipped our feet under the "foot belt" strap on the deck and took off. Captain Jack kicked us up to cruising speed of around 25 mph. We flew over the water on a beautiful day.

Naturally we made frequent stops as the mate, Buddah, spotted whales in the vicinity! Buddah had a great sense of humor and kept us laughing as we cruised around.

When we were far enough from whales, Captain Jack gave us extra thrills with sweeping turns so one side of the boat or the other rose high in the air.

We passed gorgeous lava rock formations and eventually reached the sheltered Kealakekua Bay where Captain Cook landed. Once there we jumped in for an hour of snorkeling over beautiful reef corals loaded with colorful fish.

On the way back they showed us lava tubes, sea caves and more beautiful scenery plus educated us on Capt Cook's history and the geology of the land.

Regrettably we didn't see spinner dolphins but the whales and one big manta ray made us happy. All in all it was another exciting day.

Today we woke up to a beautiful Kauai sunrise. This was zip line day! I admit I dressed in lighter weight clothes, still nervous about that weight limit. We were taken to the "base camp", greeted by friendly staff, and asked to step on the scale. I passed with pounds to spare!

Our guides then outfitted us in the harnesses, straps, carabiners, and helmets and then gave us the training orientation. All prepped and ready, we trekked to the suspension ramp up to the first zip line.

The guides made sure that we were always safe and secure. At no time were we completely disconnected from safety cables. Literally no chance that any of us would fall off of a platform 60 to 85 feet above the forest floor.

When it was my turn on the first line, I took a deep breath and stepped off the platform into space. I was off, zooming down the line, yelling "woooohoooo"!

One guide hooks you up and sends you. One guy waits at the other end to catch you. I now understand the need for the weight limit. It's not that the equipment will break since it can hold 7000 pounds. However, the harness has to fit around you for one thing. Secondly, you can't be too heavy for the catcher to stop your forward momentum before you slam into the tree on the platform.

We had a blast! Even the more strenuous bridges and ladders weren't too much for me in my more fit form. I loved flying through the forest high above the ground! Again the guides, Matt and Jahrett, were terrific. I can't wait to do it again some time!

I bought one of the company's t-shirts that reads Embrace the Adventure. That's just what we did! By the way, I bought it in the next smaller size. It's a little snug but won't be in another month and I'll be wearing it for a long time to remember this experience.

The companies for these adventures are Captain Zodiac at http://www.captainzodiac.com and Just Live at http://www.zipkauai.com if you want to check them out. I promise to post photos after I get home.

Tuesday night we passed the active volcano Kilauea. I took some photos with my phone. Not too close, of course, but you can see the lava glow and gasses.

The sunrise is from this morning in Kauai.





Me vs the Volcano

Today in Hilo on the big island we set out for a trip to Volcanoes National Park and Akaka Falls. The excursion included a 3 mile round trip hike out to the Kilauea Iki Crater. The trip description said people should be reasonably fit. My friend and I reasonably fit that description so this should be a breeze.

Not quite. A different company now runs these tours and the cruise line description doesn’t truly describe the adventure. You don’t walk out to look at the crater. You hike down switchbacks to descend 400 feet to the lava bed over hard rock with often challenging footing. Then you trek across the lava bed of the crater before climbing another mile of looping switchbacks back up 400 feet.

Strenuous, often tricky and challenging on the legs and cardio system. But guess what? I freaking did it! It wasn’t easy but I succeeded.

A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Six months ago before regular Zumba classes I might not have been able to take on the challenge. I was nervous some of the time and grateful for a walking stick and a hand over some particularly precarious spots, but I made it.

The way up was killer. Our guide, a wonderful young guy named David, told me just to go at my own pace and take breaks when I needed. I followed that advice. For inspiration I sang Springsteen songs in my head. My right knee began to tremble on the last switchback but I powered through and reached the group at the top.

It was so worth it. I’m very proud of myself and of my friend for taking on the challenge.

We returned to the ship exhausted. To reward myself I booked a bamboo massage. After a hot shower I experienced 75 minutes of muscle soothing hot oil bliss.

Bonus NSV- for the first time i can wear a spa robe and the bathrobe in the stateroom. They fit!

It’s been another outstanding day. Here are a few photos of today’s adventure.







More Maui

Since we expended a fair amount of energy by snorkeling and our other activities yesterday, we had another fairly early night. This means I was ready to get out of bed this morning before 7.

I had planned for this probability by gathering exercise clothes and putting them where I could find them without turning on the light. By 7 am I was dressed down to my sneaks. I grabbed my iPod and headed out.

While I’ll walk on a treadmill if that’s my best option, I’d rather walk somewhere. Today somewhere meant Deck 6 out in the fresh air which was far preferable to the gym facilities. The ship conveniently posts the info that one lap is equal to xxxxx feet so three laps around the ship gave me a mile of exercise.

We’ve used the steps more than the elevator. We almost always walk down to lower decks. Greater than half the time I’ve also walked up.

I’m really trying hard to keep up with my physical activity while away. I was very disappointed to learn that there aren’t any Zumba classes on board but I’m making do. Tomorrow we have an excursion that includes a three mile hike.

Today we went to Lahaina and out on a 30ish foot inflatable boat to whale watch. Again it was incredible with several mom-calf pairs and other humpbacks all around.

Sorry you’ll have to wait to see photos of the whales. You’ll have to settle for one of a giant banyan tree and one of me looking like a tourist.

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Mahalo, Maui

Mahalo means Thank You. It’s said even more often than Aloha. I need someone to teach me You’re Welcome in Hawaiian. My reflex is to thank them back.

When we got to our stateroom yesterday afternoon we found the envelope holding all of our excursion tickets. In the front was a slip reminding us that Ziplining trips have strict weight limits and instructing us to fill in our names, heights, and weights. We have to turn in the slips tonight.

I guess that gives them time to verify that we meet the limits for the trip we chose. I have to tell you that I’m a little freaked out again.

I know that fully clothed I’m still less than the top weight but my mind has returned to the dreaded “what if”? I keep telling myself that I’m not overeating and I’m getting in my exercise.

We walked all around the ship last night, including up and down stairs. Today I snorkelled for at least 90 minutes. I’m sure I’ll be fine but can’t help wishing I’d lost an additional 10 pounds so it wouldn’t even be a tiny worry. I just have to put it out of my mind so that it doesn’t negatively impact the rest of the trip.

Today’s excursion from Maui was phenomenal. We went on a snorkel trip that included a lot of whale watching. Humpback whales were all around us and very active with breaching and pec slapping. Awesome!

The water is so clear! We snorkelled over corals that formed colorful seascapes with several species of beautiful fish. At least half a dozen green sea turtles also swam by.

Photo evidence will have to wait as all my pictures are either on my real camera or the underwater disposable. I promise to share after I get back.

We’re now showered and relaxing. In keeping with vacation mode I plan to nap before dinner. More whale watching tomorrow! Mahalo, Maui. It’s been a great day.


Walking Waikiki

After a fun Polynesian culture show with lots of dancing last night we crashed into bed before 11.

By 6 am I was ready to get up and moving but it was too dark to find clothes without waking up my friend. I held out until enough light came in behind the blinds. Then I gathered up casual wear and headed out for a walk along Waikiki beach.

It was beautiful with gold sand and blue water with a cool breeze. Lots of people were walking and jogging. Surfers and swimmers paddled in the water. The view was great and I felt terrific getting in a brisk 35 minutes of exercise.

Even though I’m on vacation I’m really trying to stay close to plan. I’ve had a muffin a couple of times for breakfast but not a lot of carbs at other meals.

Yesterday and today we ate at a great beachside restaurant. I had the same meal each time because it was divine. Prime rib poke – cubes of prime rib meat flash seared so it’s delicious and tender. They drizzle an aioli made with a Hawaiian smoked meat over it and serve with grilled onions over greens.

If you’re going to pick a beef protein source, this is a good one.

Before lunch today we walked around Honolulu Zoo for around two hours. I have definitely gotten in some exercise!

We’re heading for the ship now. Maui and snorkeling tomorrow!






Hawaii Day One

We arrived late Thursday after an uneventful but long direct flight from Newark to Honolulu. I don’t think I would have attempted so many hours in a plane when I was 386. I would have been miserable.

It was dark when we arrived so not much to see but we woke up to a beautiful Waikiki beach view. We heard chanting at 6 am and thought it might be some island custom. Turned out to be the Navy running beach drills.

We picked up our rental car and drove up to Diamondhead and several scenic points beyond. Saw the first whales blowing!

We are surrounded by beauty. It’s good to be here.





It’s Time!

Tomorrow morning I get on the plane for the first part of my journey.  A trip to Jersey with an overnight stay to meet with my dear friend and traveling buddy, and then on Thursday we board the lane for Honolulu!

I have completely lost all perspective on my packing.  I made a list, checked it twice, and then checked things off as I put them in my suitcases.  I had my other list of non-clothes stuff like my snorkel and mask, dry bag, extra camera battery, camera battery charger, etc. etc. etc.  I have everything I need.  I think.  Like I said, I’ve lost all perspective as to whether I packed too many or too few clothes, or whether I have the right clothes for all of the different activities.

Now I’m holding onto the logical thought of, “So what?”  I either have it or I don’t.  If I do, great.  If I don’t, it’s not like I’m launching on a voyage and won’t see land for weeks.  I’m going to Hawaii.  There are stores.  Rumor has it the cruise ship even offers laundry service so if I need to get clothes washed, that can happen.  What a shocker!  Here’s the best part.  If I need to buy something, I’m now at a size where I’m not limited to Lane Bryant, The Avenue, Catherine’s or some other specialty store for plus-plus-plus-sized women.

There is such freedom in that reality.  I’m decided to not stress about it one more second.  I’m ready.  Honestly, I’d be in worse shape if I left my snorkel home.  Yes, I know there are plenty of snorkels to rent in Hawaii, but mine’s a dry snorkel and I love it!

I’ve already shared about the different adventures we’ve planned to try.  I promise that I will take as many pictures as possible, but in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t know how often I’ll post while I’m away.  I’m taking my travel computer, but Internet rates onboard ship are exorbitant.  I hate not checking in for the whole time that I’m gone.  It feels like I’ll leave behind some of my accountability and I refuse to do that.  This blog and our community matter to my recovery and it’s important that I not let my attention to recovery lapse while I’m off on my vacation.  Although it’s not easy to do long blogs on the tiny touch screen keyboard of my iPhone, at least I will be able to post.  I promise to do so, even if the posts aren’t overly long.  I’ll make sure to also take some pictures with the phone so that I can include them from the road.

I also promise to write full reports when I get back.  Until then, I’ll be here as often as I can!

Aloha, friends.  Talk to you soon.


Any Progress Means Success

Progress is not measured solely by the dwindling number on the scale.  I just watched the Biggest Loser and saw people who have been busting their asses in workouts and physical “challenges” all week upset because they lost “only” three or four pounds.

I’m angry that the show focuses so much on the big weekly weight loss numbers that three or four pounds are not viewed as enough.  Enough?  Hell, that’s a great loss in a single week.  The contestants ought to be free to jump up and down and feel terrific that their sweat, determination, and enormous physical effort produced that result.  Instead, they feel like they failed; that they let themselves, their trainers and their teammates down.  As a bonus, they could end up being eliminated from the show.

While I’m being angry at a television show, let me add that I don’t think they devote nearly enough air time to showing how they’re working with the contestants on changing their eating habits.  I know they are and there have been some good examples on some weeks, but I think the emphasis is out of balance.  It’s out of whack, actually.  I bet if I counted up the minutes, the percentage of gym and exercise activity shown on air would be at least two and a half times more than the nutritional guidance activity.

I know how important it is that I’ve embraced exercise and physical activity.  My surgeon even remarked that he wished all of his patients had done so to my degree.   This lifestyle change has created nothing but positive effects, but it would all be for naught if I wasn’t learning how to change my eating habits and make better choices, not only in quantity but also in the nutritional quality of the foods I eat.

On the other hand, I applaud the Biggest Loser’s program with the three kids this season.   They’re shining a strong light on childhood obesity and what young people need to do to live healthier lifestyles.  I wish someone had gotten through to me when I was the age of any of those three children.  Maybe I wouldn’t have continued to be an obese, then morbidly obese, and, finally, super obese adult.

I know that this show is also a competition and somebody has to go home every week.  I just wish that there was another way to measure, or a combination of things.  When a contestant gives their effort everything, sometimes the numbers are completely beyond our control.  Our bodies react in different ways on different weeks.  The progress they make, whether one pound or thirteen, should be celebrated as success.



Pre-Dawn Goofy Anxiety Thinking

I leave for vacation mid-week.  I’m in the final countdown and doing my preliminary packing today.  It’s natural that my many of my thoughts revolve around the upcoming trip.

You all have read me proclaiming how one of the excursions we’ve planned is a ziplining adventure.   Ziplining has been on my Promise List for a long, long time.  I promised myself that if I lost enough weight to make the weight limit, I would definitely do it in Hawaii.  I was thrilled when we started looking into different options and found that the weight limit was 250 pounds.  I Whoot!  I could do it.  (There are a few ziplining options that have a higher weight limit but they don’t look nearly as adventurous or fun as our top choice.)

This morning, I first woke up around 5:30 a.m.  Normally I can go back to sleep, but today vacation obsession took over and I couldn’t quiet my mind.  I thought about preparing for my nutritional needs while on the cruise.  I have a new can of protein powder and a shaker cup.  In the morning I can run up to the buffet and get skim milk to have a protein drink for breakfast.  Some days I’ll have eggs or yoghurt, but I really want to resist the temptation of a bagel here, some pancakes there, plus bacon or sausage every day.  I also need to pick up some Laughing Cow cheese wedges that don’t need to be refrigerated.  That way I always have an easy-to-eat snack when needed.

So, I was feeling pretty good about my planning when my mind wandered over to ziplining.  I was 243.6 on the scale yesterday morning.  At first that made me really happy and then I thought, “But that’s my morning weight.  My naked morning weight!”  I began to add up pounds in my head.  We always weigh less in the morning, I figure about a pound and a half less.  So, if we’re going ziplining mid-day, that could put me at almost 245.  Add in more pounds for clothes, including jeans, and sneakers.  Suddenly my cushion didn’t feel so cushiony anymore.

My goofy anxiety thinking began to worry about the scale.  Yes, they weigh you at the zipline company.  This is actually a good precaution.   Nobody wants the line to break when they’re 65-80 feet above ground.  What if their scale and my scale aren’t in synch?  Hell, I sometimes have to weigh myself three times in the morning because the number can veer five pounds depending on where I place my feet.  I should probably buy a different scale.

Needless to say, there was no way that my brain was going to calm enough for me to go back to sleep.  I started planning alternatives in my head.  Wear my lightest long pants — workout pants intead of jeans.  Throw in a pair of close-toed Crocs and put those on that day instead of sneaks.  Starve myself and ramp up the exercise to lose more weight before ziplining day!

Goofy anxiety thinking in the early morning does not equal logical, reasonable thought.  Finally, I sat up and told myself to knock it off.  I did some slow, deep breathing and approached this rationally.  When I last weighed myself at night, dressed, I was still less than 250 pounds.  I’ve lost additional weight since then, more than enough to compensate for sneakers.  I will probably lose a couple more pounds before we zipline, since that excursion is 10 days from now and I’m not planning to make vacation an overeating food fest.  I’m going to enjoy my meals without overeating and keep up my activity level.

I will be fine.

Anxiety-fueled, diseased thinking isn’t fun, but I’m trying to look at today’s episode as a good learning experience.  Just like I need to be vigilant about old food compulsions, I also need to guard against “stinking thinking”.  It accomplishes nothing positive and takes me out of my serenity.  I’m happy that I was able to process everything and come out on the side of rational reality.  Hopefully I’ll be able to build on this example and be even more effective the next time I wake up and start thinking from a place of goofy anxiety.