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Saturday, August 2nd – a day I’d been anticipating for more than 20 years.

You see, that was the last time I had actually ridden a roller coaster, and then just barely.  My memory is a bit fuzzy with the details from that fateful day 20 years ago, the last day I was able to ride a roller coaster.  The day my weight changed from “she’s so pretty if she’d just lose a bit of weight” to “too fat to ride a roller coaster.”  I think I was at Great America, squishing myself into a ride, saying a silent prayer that the safety bar would click into place.  Only this time the prayer went unanswered because the bar wasn’t going to click easily.  The attendant came over, about to tell me I had to get off the ride, and he must’ve seen the tears flooding my eyes and the pleading look on my face, because he took pity on me and let me ride the ride anyway.  Totally unsafe, but if given the choice between getting hurt on a ride that I wasn’t completely secured in or the mortification of being asked to get off the ride because I was too fat, I’d gladly take the chance of getting hurt.  After that ride, I never risked it again on a roller coaster.  And I got bigger, gained more weight, and knew that riding roller coasters was a thing of the past for me.

But in all these years, I never gave up the hope that someday I’d ride them again.  I put it on my #createyoursummer wishlist for ToneItUp.  I have it on my bucket list.  I even mentioned it to TR on one of our first dates when he asked me what my plans for my summer vacation were.  The problem had been none of my friends, or even my nieces, wanted to ride roller coasters with me.  It seems very few shared my love of speed, daring, and adventure.  TR was one of the only people who seemed even remotely interested in joining me, and he was actually really enthusiastic about it.  He even mentioned it again on the night of our goodbye phone call.  So about a week ago when I realized that the days of summer were  quickly disappearing, I texted TR and asked if he’d still be up for riding roller coasters with me, which he was.  We figured out a date, and now I just had to wait.  And you guys know how great I am with waiting.

That entire week I had a lot of trouble sleeping.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night, worrying about how the day would go.  About whether TR and I would have fun or if it would be awkward now that our relationship was relegated to something between dating and the dreaded “friend zone.”  About whether or not I’d be able to ride any of the rides.  About what I was going to wear.  About what the weather would be like.  About every single detail.  Friday night was the worst, I was giddy with anticipation and trying to sweep any doubts or dread out of my mind, until I finally just got up at 5:30am, as excited and anxious as a kid waiting for Santa Claus.

I picked TR up at 9am and we drove in the Beetle with the top down, even though it was an overcast morning.  As it turned out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about in terms of our rapport.  The conversation flowed as easily as ever, and I felt as comfortable with him as I always had.  We made excellent time and got to the Boardwalk in 30 minutes.

My heart was pounding out of my chest from the moment we drove by and I saw this sign.

My heart was pounding out of my chest from the moment we drove by and I saw this sign.

After finding the ticket booth and buying bracelets  that would let us go on unlimited rides (TR bought both our bracelets, which was incredibly generous of him, especially given the fact that I invited him and had been planning on paying for both of us.  In some ways it made the day even more special, because it was like a gift), TR asked me which ride I wanted to start with.  “The Giant Dipper!!!” I immediately responded.  “Starting off with the big one, I like it!” he said.  And I told him, that that’s how I like to live my life – do it big or don’t do it at all.

Because we’d gotten there so early and were among the first people at the Boardwalk, we had a miniscule line to wait in.  But it didn’t stop me from being ridiculously squirmy.  I was so excited, nervous, & anxious, and I couldn’t keep my thoughts from zipping around my head. Would I fit? Would the bar close?  Would my heart ever stop beating so hard?  Would we have fun?  The list went on and on.  I think I verbalized a bit of it, and TR just tried to reassure me that YES I would fit without any problems, that YES the bar would close with plenty of room.  If he could read my mind the poor guy might’ve run in the other direction from this crazy girl he was standing next to.  I must’ve been giving off some kind of vibe because right before it was our turn to get on the ride, the man in front of us turned around and said, “she’s more excited than my son to ride this ride!”

Finally, the moment of truth arrived.  It was my turn to get on the ride and sit down.  Even as I was doing it, I kept thinking, “please, God, let me fit.”  Of course I fit, with plenty of room!  The bar came down with no issues, and before I could even say anything, we were off, swept into the darkness of the ride, making our ascent to the top of the coaster before that first and best plummet.  The ride was SO much fun, but it was all a blur because all I was thinking the entire time was, “I’m doing it! I fit in the ride.  I’m small enough to fit in a roller coaster.  I can ride The Giant Dipper!!!”  

As we got off the ride, I was completely overwhelmed.  A wave of emotion washed over me.  I was so dizzy that I grabbed TR’s arm to steady myself, but then worrying that he’d think I was being too forward or trying to be romantic, I dropped it.  Tears were in my eyes, and I was trying to explain what I was feeling.  I apologized for acting so strangely, to which he replied, “you have nothing to apologize for.”  He really is an amazing person.  So I asked if we could walk down to the beach, to be near the waves, because the ocean always calms me.  He said of course, and as soon as we sat down, I felt better.  As I was sitting in the sand next to TR, I was talking a mile a minute, beginning the “ugly cry,” looking out at the ocean for strenth, and trying to capture all that I was experiencing. It was something along the lines of:

I am so excited that we just did that! I can’t believe we just rode The Giant Dipper!!!  I am sorry that I’m crying, I didn’t expect to react this way. Actually,  I don’t know how I expected to react.  After not being able to do something that you love for over 20 years and then finally being able to do it, it’s just crazy.  More than any number on a scale, more than any size I’m wearing, doing this today is amazing to me.  It’s something that I thought about, wished for, and wanted for so long.  And I can finally do it!  I’m finally a NORMAL person.  I know it’s crazy to you that I thought I wouldn’t fit. But even now, after losing all of this weight, I still don’t always see myself as I really am.  I’m surprised by how small I am now.  I’m surprised when I see pictures of myself in the same way that I used to surprise myself by how big I looked in pictures when I was heavy.  My head is still catching up to all of these changes.  And I guess that’s why with you I showed so many insecurities.  I’m such a confident person in every other aspect of my life, but I’ve always been insecure about my weight.  And even now that I have lost all this weight and I’m so proud of myself, I’m still getting used to this new body.  To this new person I’ve become.  From the outside, no one might know that I’ve lost all this weight, but underneath my clothes, there are still issues.  Things that I wish looked better, were tighter, or whatever.  I’ve worked so hard, and I wish all that hard work really showed and that I didn’t have any loose skin to feel weird about.  And this whole dating thing is so new to me.  I didn’t date for so long, and then I find someone like you that I like so much, and it’s so great.  And I totally understand where you’re coming from with the whole kids thing, so don’t worry. I heard you.  I just wish it could be different, but I get that it can’t.  And that’s ok.  I’m so glad that you’re here to share this with me today. This was awesome.”

And TR was really great about my little meltdown.  He said it wasn’t a meltdown, and that now he understood that I wasn’t afraid to actually ride the roller coaster, but that was nervous about fitting in the seat.  I told him it was never about being scared of going too fast on the roller coaster – that it could never be too fast or too high or too wild for me – that I loved all that.  And he got it.  He also said that we all have insecurities and that I never came across to him as insecure, which was really sweet of him to say, although I’m not sure how true it is.  While we were sitting on the beach something pretty incredible happened – two dolphins were right near the shore, swimming around.  They probably shouldn’t have been there, it was probably dangerous for them to be that close to the shore, but I took it as a sign.  That the day was going to be amazing.  That TR was exactly the person I was supposed to be sharing this experience with.  And that I could just calm down and enjoy it.  Which is what I did.

2014-08-02 10.48.44 Although at the next ride, the UnderTow, I did have a few moments of worry creep back in.  There was a sign saying that guests should check to make sure they could fit in the seats, because they were bucket seats, and smaller than on the other rides.  I asked TR if I should check if I could fit, and he said, “you can if you want to, but you’re going to fit.  With room to spare. You don’t have to worry.”  So I didn’t check ahead of time and just took it on faith that I’d fit without a problem.  And you know what, I did.  Plenty of room.  No worries at all.  It was at that point that I really just let all the insecurities and doubts go and just enjoyed the day.

As you can see, there was plenty of room in the seat.  I love the action shot of the two of us.  LOL.

As you can see, there was plenty of room in the seat. I love the action shot of the two of us. LOL.

We rode the Giant Dipper four times, the Under Tow twice, and the Log Ride once. I relished the fact that I could ride ANY ride on the Boardwalk, I could fit into ANY seat. That nothing could keep me from these roller coasters ever again! It was such empowerment, such freedom. As if I could fly. It was a remarkable feeling.

TR commented that I look "so tan and ripped" in this photo.  :D

TR commented that I look “so tan and ripped” in this photo. (I’ve never been complimented on my arms before, so that was very cool, even if it wasn’t quite accurate).

TR said that he was inspired by my accomplishment and wanted to conquer a bit of his own fear – a fear of heights, so he agreed to go on the gondola ride with me. Which was so impressive and endearing.  I give him so much credit for doing it, but the ride crept along at a snail’s pace and he was pretty shaky and white-knuckling it the whole way across.  “We won’t be taking that one again,” he said, and I completely understood.  That’s the thing about our dynamic that I think is so rare and so incredible – we can be completely open and honest with each other, revealing our vulnerabilities, and appreciating each other all the more because (rather than in spite) of them.

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Spending the day riding roller coasters was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped, and probably moreso than I could have ever imagined.  It was thrilling, exciting, and incredibly fun. The day was fantastic in a way that I can’t find the words for.  It was day that I will never, ever forget. It was living my dreams and fulfilling long-held desires.  It was the highlight of the summer of 2014. It was perfect.

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Happy Sunday! Happy Father’s Day!  I hope you’ve been enjoying the weekend with family and friends, doing all the things you love to do.  My family celebrated Father’s Day yesterday with a great BBQ at my house.  We had baby back ribs that fell off the bone, red potato & string bean salad, deviled eggs, and a Caprese salad.  Dessert was a delicious assortment of melons, although I just had coffee.  My dad loved his presents, we took a neighborhood walk with the pups after dinner, and really enjoyed each other. A wonderful afternoon and evening.

This post is a bit overdue (as so many of the posts are, but now that it’s summer, I promise to catch up).  Last Tuesday Tinkerbell and I went shopping.  I was in search of some capris, so we headed to Macy’s.  My two favorite brands at Macy’s are INC and Style & Co, and both of them had what I was looking for.

I knew that although my weight had remained the same for the past 6 weeks or so, my clothes were fitting looser, so I decided to take a chance on bringing size 12s into the fitting room.  (Along with my backup 14s, just in case).  I’m thrilled to report that the 12s fit!!  And not just one random pair of “curvy boyfriend,” but every pair I brought into the dressing room.  This is a great time to remind you that I started out this journey in a tight size 28!  And now I’m in size 12!!!!!  I really don’t remember the last time I wore size 12.  Maybe in high school?  But even then, I remember being size 13/14.  I’m sure at some point, when I was on Jenny Craig and got down to 130, I was a size 12, but it was for such a brief moment in time that I really don’t recall.  In any case, I was absolutely thrilled!

The cool thing was that it wasn’t just at Macy’s that this size fit, it was at Old Navy, too.  Later during Tuesday’s shopping trip, Tink and I found ourselves at Old Navy, and I found some cute capri jeans for $20.  Now, to be completely honest, those were size 14, but Old Navy fits me smaller.  In other words, when I was wearing size 14 at Macy’s and every other store, I was in size 16s at Old Navy, which I refused to buy.  This time I decided that I could live with the 14s, because they looked really cute and they were only $20.  Plus, no one sees what size they are, and I know that size 14s at ON translate to 12s everywhere else.

The other really cool discovery was that Tinkerbell and I wear the same size pants.  This is astonishing to me, because I look at her as having really skinny, fit legs and I don’t see myself that way at all.  Her legs are solid and toned, while mine are flabby and full of loose skin.  But after I tried on the Old Navy capris she asked if she could try the same ones on.  I said, “Tink, those are going to be WAY too big for you – your legs are so much smaller than mine.” To which she replied, “Bella, no they’re not.  Your legs are actually small too, without all the skin.”  This really hit me.  Now I don’t think I’d consider my legs as small, and I’ll always think of myself as a curvy girl, but seeing Tinkerbell put on the pants and that they fit her about the same way they fit me was really illuminating.  And oh so cool!  I’ve never had a bestie I could share clothes with before – and now we can!  Fun!!

Friday I went to Kohls to look for some tops, but just to verify this new size 12 pants thing I tried on a few pair of pants, and the 12s fit there, too!  The fun thing at Kohls was that I’m solidly in a size Medium top.  All sorts of tops fit me in that size – which is really crazy. I’ve always been smaller on top than on the bottom, but at my heaviest I was wearing size 26s that were super tight around my hips.  Not anymore!  Shopping is so much fun now as I try to figure out my style.  I’ll make sure to post OOTD photos on Instagram, if you’d like to keep up with my evolving style there.  I didn’t take photos of everything, but here are a couple of outfits that show these new sizes:

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I was going to the SJ Giants game on Wednesday night, so I have that tshirt on, along with the size 12 INC curvy boyfriend jeans (which I rolled into capris). As the night wore on the jeans got looser, and at one point Di even commented that the jeans were too loose.  LOL.  I need to wash and dry them.

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This was my outfit yesterday for the Father’s Day BBQ.  The top is size medium from Kohls – I love that bandana print.  The top is super comfy and light, perfect for hot weather.  The pants are the size 12 Style & Co capris.  Also super light and comfy.

I’m so happy that my body is still making progress, even though the scale has slowed down a bit.  It shows that all my hard work at the gym has paid off, and that I’m losing inches.

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{On a side note, I forgot to do a weigh in post on Wednesday, so let me give an update.  After taking about a week off from working out and making some poor food choices during the last week or so of school, last Saturday had me up about 5 pounds at 185.8.  Yesterday I weighed in at 179.6 – that’s a loss of 6 .2 pounds this past week.  I’m really proud of that for a few reasons:

  1. I knew the weight gain was mostly water weight from eating movie popcorn with butter, too many trips to Yogurtland, and a few other poor meal choices, not to mention not getting enough water or any workouts in.  I knew it would come off fast.
  2. I’ve been putting in WORK at the gym with cardio and toning routines this week.  Tink and I met at 7:30am twice and at 7am another time.  And I worked out myself the other days.
  3. I’m finally in the 170s!!  Even if it is just barely into the 170s, I’ll take it.  It means the scale is moving, and I’m happy with that.

I promise that I’ll write a Wednesday weigh-in post this week}.

 

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After more than two months of planning, anticipating, and preparing, yesterday was finally the day I left for Hawaii.  All week I had the same feeling I had when I was 6 years old and my family was about to go to Disneyland for the first time. I had a lot of last minute errands, meeting, and grading to do to keep me occupied, but if I’m honest, my mind was really concentrating on the beaches of Oahu, and rightly so, I haven’t been on a true vacation since 2008, and I haven’t been anywhere tropical since my trip to Jamaica in 2001.

Back to Saturday morning. My flight was leaving at 8:55am, so my dad was set to pick me up at 7am to get there with time to spare. I woke up around 5am to make sure I had everything ready and I’m glad that it gave me time for a snuggle session with Sofi. Leaving her behind is the only downside to this trip. But she’s going to have a ton of fun with my sister, my nieces, and their dog, Minnie.

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Getting through the airport security was a breeze, even though that imaging machine is so strange. I even met a guy who was flirting relentlessly with me. Granted, he was 7 years old, but still. Lol. He was the cutest thing ever! He noticed that I had on an SF Giants tee and asked me to high five because he had on a 49ers sweatshirt. He said, “I’m going to Hawaii, where are you going?” And when I told him I was going there too, his face lit up. He asked me my name, and said, “bye, Bella” as I headed to get my Starbucks fix. We were seated a row apart on the plane, and every now and then he’s smile and wave. When the flight landed, he was right next to me at baggage claim, asking which bag was mine and then whether or not I was married. The scamp! His parents just smiled at me when I looked over at them. Finally, while I was waiting to be picked up outside the airport, he and his family passed me, and he said, “bye, Bella!!! I hope we see you in Hawaii!” Too cute! Now if only he was about 30 years older.

I had a major NSV as I took my window seat on the plane. Not only was I not spilling over into my neighbor’s seat, but I had lots of room with the seatbelt! On my last flight in 2008, when I was nowhere near my heaviest weight (in fact I’d just lost about 50 pounds because of that medically supervised fasting diet), I needed an extender. And when I went to put the tray table down, I was so scrunched that it wouldn’t sit flat. Not this time!!! This time, I had tons of room, and was like any other normal person. I could even move up & down the aisle of the plane, passing other people, with ease. Only someone who has been obese can understand the silent triumph I felt as each of these realizations hit me.

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The flight itself was amazing! I’d never flown Alaskan Airlines before, but definitely will again. The staff was friendly, the service was quick, and we we’re ahead of schedule the entire time. Not to mention the complimentary Mai Tai! I was seated next to a really friendly woman who was just chatty enough, but also respected my desire to read. At baggage claim my bag was among the first ten off the conveyer. And from there, I walked outside and within 15 minutes, my friend was picking me up to take me back to the house.

The house itself is awesome! It’s a little, hidden bungalow with this amazing view backyard view. First, let’s take a look at the inside: the living room, the kitchen, and the wall of windows…

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As nice and comfortable as the house is, the backyard and dock is by far the best feature of this place. Every time I see that dock, I’m reminded of the dock that Gatsby looks at in the distance, towards the green light at Daisy’s house.

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The view of the house from the private dock

The view of the house from the private dock

It rained a bit in the afternoon, but even that was so refreshing.  Hawaii is so humid, and the rain brings relief from that.  Plus, I love hearing the way it sounds against the dock.  I sat on the back porch and read as it rained, and it was so soothing, especially after a long flight.

One other “feature” of this place is ALL the stairs that lead to the street level.  There are three full sets of stairs that are fairly steep.  Yesterday I used them to get a workout in. No matter how much I may indulge on this vacation, I think I’m going to leave with my booty in better shape than it was when I got here.

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I went to Safeway to get some food for the week, and I can definitely see what they mean about how expensive things are.  I bought yogurt, salads, Flat Out wraps, salami, deli turkey, Laughing Cow cheese wedges, cottage cheese, strawberries, granola, coffee creamer, and some Boom Chicka Pop popcorn and the bill totaled $101! Needless to say, I’m going to eat as many meals at home/pack my lunch as often as I can.  I do plan to go out for sushi and maybe one other meal.

Once I got back from grocery shopping, I spent the afternoon lazing around – napping, reading, and feeling amazingly lucky that I’m able to spend this week here in what is truly paradise.  I stayed home last night, took a shower that let me wash off the day and made me feel like a new person, and just enjoyed a quiet night.

10154938_10151946586235426_644419868_n If yesterday is any indication, this is going to be an amazing vacation!

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Yes, you read that title correctly! I just bought bikini tops from VS for my upcoming vacay in Hawaii.  I received the email promotion today telling me that VS had select tops & bottoms on sale for $15.  $15!  That’s a better deal than anything you can find at Target, and because they’re from VS, you know they’ll fit well.  All their tops are sized like bras, making it easy to insure a good fit.  I’ve been searching for swim tops that offer adequate support (underwire!) and I’ve come up short, until today.

boardshorts Because I’m planning on buying long board shorts, I wanted to pair them with bikini tops.  I’m going to get these black shorts, so I wanted the tops to coordinate, but add a bit of fun.

blackfloral

I wish this wasn’t such a sexy shot, because the top itself is actually really practical, while being pretty.  The halter top has underwire (practical) and ruffles (pretty).  That bow in the front is removable, but I think I’ll probably leave it on, because it adds a fun flirtyness. I really like the print; it just reminds me of somewhere tropical, like Hawaii, but the colors are bold and vibrant, which is my style.

blackstripe

This top is the exact same style as the one above.  I love this pattern – I’ve been really into black & white stripes lately, and turquoise/aqua is one of my favorite colors.  I think this will look really great on me, especially after I get a tan.

And because the reviews I’ve read about the board shorts say that customers wished they had a built-in bathing suit bottom to feel more comfortable, I also bought these VS bottoms to wear under the board shorts:

swimshort

These will never see the light of day (unless I’m sunbathing at the house by myself with no neighbors able to see me), but I think they’ll be nice to have underneath.

The total for all of these items?  $58, including tax and shipping! I’m thrilled!  Not only is that a fantastic price, but I think the fit will be great and I’ll feel good wearing them.  I’ve never bought a bathing suit from VS, let alone bikini tops, so this NSV is really special for me.  All in all, a great day of online shopping for the Hawaiian vacay, which is now just 29 days away!!

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The new treadmill is going to give me a future NSV.

You see, because of my weight and because it’s not super high-powered, the belt doesn’t move at the correct speed when I get on it. At first I was upset, but you know what they say about lemonade from lemons.

So I have it cranked up to 4mph and an incline of 4% just to get a good workout. (I adjusted the speed/incline for MFP for accuracy). It’s definitely a workout, though – I was sweating & huffing & puffing.

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I even created a “place” on FB for the location of my treadmill so that I can check in every morning at 5am when I step on it. That way, I’m building in accountability with all my FB friends. Plus, I’ll have a public record of all of my accomplishments. This is why I always check in on FB when I go to the gym.

One day, when I weigh much less, the treadmill will move as it should. I can’t wait for that! For now, I’m making the best of it.

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I’m really excited to share my newest NSV with you! Yesterday when I weighed in at Kaiser, I was so excited about being below the first goal weight, it completely escaped me that I’d also lost a total of 31.4 pounds! Which means that I’ve officially also lost 10% of my body weight. Which means….

I can now wear the 10% bracelet I bought for myself 2 years ago! It’s sort of eerily perfect that I purchased the bracelet back in March 2011, and now in March 2013 I’ve finally achieved the weight loss. I’ve been keeping it in my jewelry box all this time, just waiting for this moment to wear it. Today I donned it proudly:

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The charm is actually a key from an old typewriter, which is so appropriate for someone who loves writing and literature as much as I do.  I absolutely love this constant reminder of what I’ve achieved.  I’m going to wear it proudly every day.

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