How time can change things…. I year ago I was struggling to move and lose weight. Today I’m not struggling physically as much and am closer to a healthy body weight than I’ve ever been before! What more is that through the loss of extreme weight I was recognized as the Division 1 winner in the state of TN in April. (I weighed in over 300 pounds at the first weigh in last year.) WIth a loss for the year 2011 of 128.75 pounds I was just recognized INTERNATIONALLY as the Division 1 1st place winner as well!! WOW! TOPS ROCKS!! Find a local TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) chapter near you! Look on www.tops.org. The International Recognition Days was held in San Diego, Ca. On this trip from little ole Readyville, TN to huge and massive San Diego, Ca I was aware of so many little things that no one typically notices or cares about. From where I was to where I am today is still amazing to even me. I’ve stuck with it and I am Doing it for ME! The trip was enjoyed by our family with extra days to play included.
Day 1: We flew in two planes with a layover in Detroit. It had been years since I had been on a plane and our girls had never been on one. I fit in the seat with room to spare. I had to tighten the seat belt. I went into the bathroom to just see how roomy it was:). BTW - not very roomy no matter your size! LOL! I had no problem walking anywhere. We were all over the Detroit airport passing time and still I got a salad to eat at McD’s. Physically I was capable to move around and I really did appreciate that. I didn’t have people staring at me as I noticed countless times in the past. I didn’t have to apologize for taking up too much space. My phobia of heights isn’t gone but I’m more comfortable now, perhaps more balanced.
Day 2: San Diego Zoo is the best zoo ever! I’ve been to lots of zoos in my days and this one really is a step above. We walked miles and miles and I was in the lead a lot of the time. For lunch was a packet of chicken, vegetable replacement and an apple. We rode the top of an open double decker tour bus and an aerial tram over the zoo (twice). For the first time I didn’t quite feel like an attraction myself. We were there when they opened and almost closed them down. Supper was at a fantastic place - Mona Lisa’s Italian Restaurant where I ate an delicious grilled chicken Caesar salad with parmesean and a piece of grilled chicken/no cheese thin crust pizza. YUM!! I decided I wasn’t going to go completely overboard and mess everything up but that I was out of my element and routine and was allowing some portion distortion.
Day 3: San Diego Bay was beautiful but actually a bit nippy. We wound up touring the Maritime Museum which was several ships and submarines. Yep… I said submarines!! Guess what I could do?!? I went down into not one, but two docked submarines. There is absolutely NO WAY that I could have physically done that before. It was great being capable to go all over, up and down stairs, through hatches, and all around the area. We froze waiting on fireworks which wound up being a HUGE dud, making national news-witnessed history. Hmmm…. food? Breakfast was leftover pizza. Lunch was at a Jack in the Box - another grilled chicken salad, then supper was at Anthony’s Grotto - yum - more chicken.
Day 4-6: The conference begins! I was able to be dressed to the hilt, in formals for the next 3 mornings- for pictures, for a Before and After Parade and then the big finale. Our room was fabulous and on the fifth floor. Except for getting our luggage up the elevator and worn out from the Bay I took the stairs EVERY TIME!! I was quite proud of myself. Even in heals I went up and down those stairs throughout the days in between sessions and workshops. Food-wise I had meal replacement shakes two mornings and tuna for one. For lunch one day I bought, imagine, a grilled chicken salad and a fruit salad also, picking out the carby carrots, grapes, muffin, etc. and having a great meal. For supper one night I had a small thin crust pizza with tomatoes and chicken then the next evening was a nice honorary supper with all winners, a grilled chicken taco salad. Of course I did not eat the big crispy taco shell. The last session was inspiring and very humbling. Afterwards there was a receiving line that wound up lasting for a couple hours or more. It was incredible! So many people came by, looked at the poster of my before picture behind me and then checked me out in my split dress with my leg showing in red heals. I felt as beautiful as all those people told me I was. I was starved!! (Oh, and my feet hurt.) We changed hotels and then I had to eat. I went to the Bistro and had a flatbread chicken and tomato pizza. Later that evening we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory where I had brocolli and grilled chicken with parmesean and some bread too, not as much as I could’ve eaten!
Day 7: LA and Hollywood! OMG! We went to Hollywood Blvd. What a cool experience to be with such a crowd. It was so exciting to see all the names on the stars, the acts on the sidewalk, the surroundings and generally all of it. Confession- we ate at Juicy Burger. I got a turkey burger in a lettuce wrap. It was tasty but I did eat some fresh cut french fries. After walking and walking for a few hours we were able to meet up with my husband’s brother that lives in Idaho, making a delivery East of LA. We met and ate a diner where I had a large salad, a little steak and potato. Not the best but protein. Great visit.
Day 8: THE BEACH!!!!! Finally, I got to go to the beach with the family. They’d already been during my convention, along with the mall, fun eating places, etc. If you don’t know this about me - I LOVE PALM TREES! They make me smile. There’s so many different varieties too. The beach was beautiful but the water was cold! I like the sand, the warmth, the sounds of the waves, the birds, people having fun and all of it. We enjoyed taco salads at The Boardwalk on Mission Beach for lunch. Afterwards we drove around Coronado Island checking out the view. You can even see Tiawanna, Mexico from San Diego. Our last meal before heading to the airport was at The Black Angus. What a great last supper in Ca. Then we flew to Atlanta, jacking up our sleeping schedule completely by hours, where we ate breakfast - a meal replacement shake. It was great to get home. Still catching up!
I feel so honored and blessed to have been recognized for all my hard work to this point. Now to focus on the rest of the weight that I need to get rid of - asap. It’s within reach. I’m not sure how much more my body will let me shed but I’ll stop when I get there. If I can get this far I am going all the way, regardless of what life circumstances are thrown in my way. I am doing this for me!