Weighty Matters

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Cruise Day Four – Mindful Eating and San Juan

I slept in and missed the morning Wellness Program but still took a good four-five laps around the promenade deck to make up the steps. I’ve focused on mindful eating (reading that again in my journal reminds me that I still need to do this all of the time, whether at home or out) which means that I stop before I eat, close my eyes and remind myself to eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and stop eating when I’ve had enough. Doing this demonstrated to me that it is indeed possible to be satisfied with one small waffle and two skinny sausage links. Yes the waffle is just a carbohydrate and I had a little bit of syrup on it, but I figured that I would more than compensate with the one hour line dancing lesson. Besides, after my deck walk, I’d skipped the elevator and taken the stairs to the buffet restaurant — up six decks!

I believe it’s obligatory to play Bingo at least once when cruising, so I did. Lost but had fun, which was also pretty much my reaction to my less-than-successful visits to the ship’s casino. After Bingo, I ran over to the line dance lesson. Then I went down several flights of steps to take my cowboy boots back to my room. I then went up four flights again to grab a light salad, again eating mindfully. (At this point, those waffle calories were definitely gone!) We were pulling into port in San Juan, Puerto Rico which is an American territory. So, for the first time since leaving Ft. Lauderdale, I turned on my phone and did a quick check of personal email and Facebook. I did not, however, check my work voice mail.

I’d taken my salad outside to the sundeck since it was such a pretty day. On my way to get more water, I ran into country start Jo Dee Messina. In her concert she’d shared that she and her siblings are caring for their ill mother. She’s very nice and we ended up chatting about being caregivers to our parents. I also ended up giving her and her husband a quick tutorial in QR codes and how she could use them in her Facebook marketing. (Yes, you can take me away from work but you can’t take marketing instincts out of my brain. If her soon-to-be-released album has a QR code on it, you’ll know why. 🙂 )

My excursion for San Juan wasn’t scheduled until 3:50, so I simply sat in the sun for awhile, writing in the journal and reflecting on what I terrific time I was enjoying so far. It’s like I carried around this little bubble of happiness. I was having fun and also feeling incredibly good about myself, my eating, my activity level, and everything else.

I had this big realization while sitting on that deck. Nobody on this cruise knew me as a super obese woman. I’m not sure why, but that wowed me. It was both exciting and cool to think about it, even if I’m not exactly sure why it tickled me so much. Maybe it was the complete absence of lingering shame. Maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t doing any of my leftover projecting. Whatever the case, it was extremely freeing.

When it was time to gather for the excursion, I got in line with everyone else and just started meeting the people I’d be with for the next several hours. We’d signed up to go on a night kayaking trip to the bioluminescent bay. To get there we had to first take a 90 minute bus ride from the ship. This meant we had lots of time to get to know each other. I first met a 30-something year old woman named Emily. Since she was also a solo traveler, we paired up to paddle together in the two-person kayak. This cruise was filled with lots of friendly, interesting people. Emily is a project manager for construction companies and had recently quit her job to return to school. her goal is to work for nonprofit organizations, preferably Habitat for Humanity.

Also on the bus was Dave, a sound engineer for the Gatlin Brothers. The three of us talked a lot.

Kayaking at night was fun and I was thrilled beyond measure to discover that I no longer have the slightest bit of discomfort sitting in a kayak. My legs used to go numb after a while, but not anymore. My body has strengthened even more in the last year than I realized, at least for kayaking. We paddled out through a mangrove channel to get to the bay. Emily and I cracked jokes, sang river and water songs, and I did my impression of narrators for BBC nature shows. The bay itself was cool! Dinoflagellates in the water fire off a photon when disturbed — one sparkle of light per 24 hours. When you stick your hand in the water, or your kayak paddle, the water starts to glow. Not so great for pictures, but pretty to see.

The kayak trip took about 90 minutes and then we had another hour plus back to the ship. We were very late and missed most of the Vince Gill concert. As it was, we ran to the theater in our kayaking clothes. Thankfully, my bathing suit bottoms had mostly dried in the towel I’d wrapped around myself so they didn’t dampen my shorts when I pulled them on. I’m sure I looked like a sticky, salty hot mess, but we just stood in the back of the theater. If anyone gave us funny looks, I didn’t notice.

None of us had eaten any dinner to speak of so we went up to the buffet for the late night offerings. Seriously, if there is food put out, people will eat — even if they don’t normally show down at 11 p.m. when at home. A light snack satisfied me and we spent most of the time chatting some more before calling it a night.

Remember when I said I thought I’d work off the morning waffle? Well, before I went to bed, I looked at my FitBit. For the first time ever, I logged close to 21,000 steps in a single day! 21,000 steps plus 90 minutes of kayaking. Booyah to the nth degree!