Weighty Matters

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Progress on the Promise List

on July 28, 2013

Those of you who have been with the blog for awhile have heard me share about one of the “lines in the sand” for me that pushed me over the edge so that I decided to have weight loss surgery.  Bear with me, please.

I love the ocean.  There are only a handful of years in my entire life when I have not lived within a mile of the Atlantic Ocean.  Honestly, for most of my life I’ve lived within steps of the beach.  As you know, my home is on a harbor in the Florida Keys, on the ocean side.  From the time I was a baby, I’ve gone on boats.  Fishing was a popular family activity up home on the Jersey Shore.   That’s why my folks bought this little house as a vacation home here in the Keys.  These islands meant they could fish in the winter too.

I love boats.  I love being on and in the water.  Four years ago, I bought a boat of my own, a sweet, stable 22 footer.  My dream was that I would be able to take friends out fishing and to some of the snorkeling spots located not far from my house.   I also like taking out the boat and meeting friends at a local sandbar for an afternoon of cool, wet, socializing.

Two years ago, when I was at my hugest, I still went out on my boat, even though it was often awkward and not all that easy for me to gracefully move around.   Emotionally at that time, I’d given up on myself and had pretty much resigned myself to never losing my excess weight.  i knew that within the next five to ten years, I’d be even further on the way to being disabled if I wasn’t dead from a heart attack or some other obesity-related condition.

One day I’d joined up with others at the sandbar.  We’d arrived at low tide and by the time we were ready to leave, the water had come up.  I went to my ladder and realized that I couldn’t easily get my foot up on the lowest rung.  I tried to maneuver my knee on it and was almost successful, but my body was just too big.  I couldn’t help myself either because I didn’t have the arm strength or upper body strength to haul myself up out of the water.

Thankfully, we could let out some additional anchor line and I walked the boat back to where it was still somewhat shallow and I managed to get on board.

This, my friends, was a defining moment.   It’s a damn good thing that I’d found this out when I could still touch bottom.  I could just as easily have jumped off of my boat while snorkeling and not been able to get back on without assistance.  The dismay, horror and sadness stayed with me for days.   Honestly, I could have sunk completely into despair and totally crashed and burned.  Fortunately, I went the other way and decided not to give up on myself.  I became determined to change my life around, and go to any lengths to lose weight and get healthy — even though it meant having weight loss surgery.  Less than a month later, I’d gotten the name of a surgeon from my primary care physician and attended the free information seminar.  From there, everything moved steadily forward.

As you know, I have an ongoing Promise List of experiences and activities I’ve promised myself I will do as I lose weight.  On that list I put, “Take friends on my boat and go snorkeling”.

Last year at this time, I still had not lost enough weight or built up my physical condition enough to risk doing the snorkeling trip.  In the last 12 months however, I’ve lost many more pounds and invested a lot of time, energy and effort into physical exercise and conditioning.   The hard work has paid off in so many ways.  It’s what enabled me to zip line, snorkel, and hike the crater in Hawaii.  it makes every day just easier and less exhausting over all.

Today was just one more example.  Move another item from the “want to do” column on my Promise List over to the “I’ve done it!” side.  Today we were blessed with absolutely perfect weather — bright sunshine with a light kiss of breeze and calm waters.  I’d made plans with friends for a boating excursion.  First stop – Coffin’s Patch, a popular spot for snorkeling in a sanctuary area.  After putting on my fins and mask, I walked down my boat ladder into the warm, clear-as-glass water.  I wish I had an underwater camera so I could show you the beautiful, lacy purple sea fans, big brain coral and all of the colorful fish that I swam around.  It was just glorious!  We must have stayed there, swimming around and looking at everything before I swam back to my boat.

Moment of truth time!  In all honestly, my ladder really could use an extra rung, but the lack didn’t stop me.  I maneuvered my knee onto the bottom run, pulled myself up until I could get my foot on it, and then boosted myself the rest of the way up.  I did it!  Mission – and Promise List item – accomplished.

I’d shared the history with my friends and when I was back on board, they cheered for me.  It was a truly fine moment to share and I’m sure my grin was bright, happy and, probably, a little cheesy.  It was great!

From there we cruised a couple of miles over to the sandbar and ate the lunch we’d brought.  One of my friends also mixed up an excellent, tasty sangria.  I’m a responsible boat captain so I limited myself to half a glass at the very beginning, but it was enough to use to toast the day and celebrate.

Here are a couple of photos to show you the beauty, at least above the water’s surface.  I really must look into underwater cameras soon.  I know for a fact that I plan to go snorkeling a lot more often!

Endless beauty!

Endless beauty!

Snorkel Trip 005-web

Happy Captain.

Happy Captain.

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3 responses to “Progress on the Promise List

  1. Hope says:

    Hooray! I’m so happy and proud for you!!!!

    And jealous. I want to go snorkeling. :p

  2. Skye says:

    How wonderful! It’s great that you’ve made so much progress, and that you’ve been able to accomplish another thing on your Promise List. This is a truly excellent story about the benefits of change.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mary,
    You are an inspiration to us all. Warm thoughts and hugs to you.
    Holly

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