If you have been a reader for a while you know I love to travel and I often go to conferences as well as on blogger summit from various brands. I think BlogHer in August of 2012 was when I stopped. It was self-imposed because my weight had become a big issue and made it so hard for me to travel. I did not want to go on another trip where I could not enjoy myself.
On trips last year I remember that I always looked like I had grapefruits stuck on my ankles they were swollen so much. I could not get through the long airports by myself at all and had to use assistance. When at events and everyone was ready to go to dinner or some event near the hotel I dreaded it – I always asked “how far is it” and would inevitably get the answer of “oh just a couple of blocks”. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do that much even and I would either take a cab or just not go at all with the group. Not going was horrible for me – if you have met me you know that I want to be with the group having fun! Walking around the expo hall at BlogHer was hard for me – I found a place to sit and rest whenever I could. My health, because of my weight, was really taking all of the fun out of these business trips for me. The photo to the right is me at BlogHer ‘12 last year.
In January my journey began and I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy and began changing my eating habits – smaller portions, better choices – and exercising. The 70+ pounds I have lost have made such a huge difference for me, even though I still have lots more to lose. The difference was very evident last week when I took my first business trip again. The picture below is me now – again a ways to go, but there is a difference in how I look, but especially how I feel!
This trip was a Microsoft event and I had been talking to Kristina at Microsoft for a couple of years about doing a blogger trip. When it came to fruition there was no way I was going to miss it! Turns out this was just the perfect trip for me to go on as I ventured back into traveling. First the team did a fabulous job on the agenda for the trip and taking care of all of us – amazing! But, not only was the content of the trip great but I was surrounded by people I already knew – both brand and PR and bloggers – and their support of my weight loss was incredible. Many knew of my surgery already, many have been following my story here on my blog, twitter, and Facebook. But even those that did not were cheering me on, asking questions, and being very positive. It really was an amazing feeling to have all that support for me during those 4 days. I would share, out loud, many of the little victories I’m about to tell you and they would high five me, say way to go, and cheer sometimes even.
I was nervous before the trip. Hubby knew this and was very supportive. He dropped me off at Lambert Airport and I walked to security, waited in line, then walked to my gate! I was not out of breath, my legs did not hurt. Whew! One hurdle down. On the way I stopped to get something to drink too – not a Coke like I used to always get, but an Evian water instead! Now onto the plane – flight number one and no seat belt extender required! I did not feel squished in my seat either – yes I’m still fat – but I didn’t feel like I had to constantly worry I was invading the space of those next to me. I also did not get that “geez I have to sit next to the fat lady” look from passengers next to me – yes, obese people see those looks that others give. Then I tried it and I could put the tray table down all the way! Woohoo! I haven’t been able to do that in a while, it hit my stomach. I got out my Surface tablet and used it on the tray – happy dance! I had a connection in Chicago and walked from one gate to the next again without problems. Now a small downer, on this flight I had to ask for a seat belt extender. The flight attendant was so sweet though, I told her I was disappointed because I didn’t need it on the last flight and she said seat belts are different sizes and they cut off pieces to fix them often. I shared a bit about my weight loss and she cheered me on too! So extender on and by the way, if you are overweight please don’t hesitate to ask the attendants for a seat belt extender, they are very nice about it and it is better to be safe instead of tucking an unlatched seatbelt under your belly and pretending it is latched.
Upon arrival in Seattle I walked down to baggage and was met by a wrangler and taken to the group of other bloggers who had already arrived. When it was time to go I walked with everyone to the exit, up a floor, then down a floor, across the road, and into the parking garage – no problems! Even in the car I was not exhausted at all. We headed to the Hotel 1000 (which is fabulous – see my video tour of room at end of this post). Here is where I got nervous again a bit. Several of them were going to go up in the Space Needle and to the new Ferris Wheel and I wanted to go but I was afraid. Afraid that I would wear myself out after just getting there. Instead I stayed at the hotel with a few others and chatted and then when my room was ready went and freshened up before dinner. Oh and I forgot to mention I was sharing with everyone that I was wearing real jeans for this first time in years – you know with a zipper, button, front & back pockets – not the stretchy pull-on elastic waist “jeans” and they all cheered for me! Also, my friend Cecily saw me and said “you look so skinny” – now I am not anywhere close to skinny, but I knew what she meant – she meant she could tell I had lost weight and was cheering me on – it felt great!
I did a great job during the trip with food and eating just a little. I hate wasting food, but when you are not fixing your own plate it happens. The only thing was that meals were spaced out which is not the best way for me to eat, but I dealt with it. I even had tiny bites of dessert. They fed us well on this trip but not once did I eat to much! We did not have a ton of walking around Microsoft when we were there, but regardless I could do it all. The second night we were at one event and then they said we are walking to dinner. Gulp. I had that tiny bit of anxiety but I went along. It was not a long walk, “just a few blocks”, but one I would not have been able to do last year. I even talked while I walked! It was an amazing feeling! The next day we walked from our hotel to Pike Place – up a slight hill by the way – and walked around for an hour or so. I did not look for a place to sit or rest during this – I just walked around with everyone! Wonderful! We walked back to the hotel for a bit and then walked back up the hill to our lunch spot. During lunch the room we were in had table set in big “U” around the room and I loved that I was able to scoot in to the table enough where I didn’t feel like I was blocking others from going behind me like I would have last year.
The whole trip was like this and I was just so happy to feel so much better on this trip than I had been on my trips last year. And that support from everyone else was totally priceless for me. My ankles did swell a little, but nothing extreme at all. When I finally got back to St. Louis I did call it an early night and slept in a bit the next day – but I was not totally exhausted for a couple of days like I would have been before.
So now I am back to traveling again – next week I will be in Orlando, in May I will be in Los Angeles, in September it is Atlanta, and I am open to accepting trips from brands if they invite me again now (I hope they didn’t rule me out entirely).
As always, I am sharing my journey, good and bad, for everyone. Those that have a lot of weight to lose need to know they are not alone and they can do it. Those that have friends and family who are overweight can get some insight into the process too.
If you have a question, ask away, I will do my best to answer!
© 2013, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.