Thursday, August 04, 2005

Nightmare at 20,000 feet

I’ve been thinking a lot about flying recently. It’s amazing what you have to go through to fly somewhere if you are very overweight. It’s something that I really dread whenever I have to fly to visit family or friends. First there is the fear of having to pay for two seats, especially if you are flying Southwest Airlines. I never really gave it a thought until last year when I flew down to Texas for a visit. I remember when Southwest announced that they were going start charging fat people for an extra seat, I thought, “I’m not that fat, that will never happen to me.” When I arrived at the airport to check my luggage, the lady behind the counter kind of eyed me up and down (maybe that was just my imagination) and said, “I need to let you know that you may be asked to purchase two seats before you can board the flight. The attendant at the gate will let you know when you get there.” Oh my God. I can’t tell you how humiliated I felt when she told me that. All I could think of at the time was that there was no way I could afford to buy another ticket and how embarrassing it was going to be to have to call my wife to ask her to come pick me up at the airport because the airline wasn’t going to allow me to fly unless I plunked down another couple of hundred bucks.

I made it through the second attendant without having to pay the extra seat charge. What a relief. Now it was time for the second round of torture – finding a seat. Maybe again this was just my imagination but I could swear that as I walked down the aisle, people who were already seated were eyeing me nervously with a, “God I hope he doesn’t sit down buy me” look on their faces. I always pray, especially when I’m one of the last passengers to get on a flight, that there will be an aisle seat open for me. I was in luck that day. I found an aisle seat, put my carryon bag in the overhead apartment and sat down in my seat. It was a full flight and the two seats next to be were already occupied. Then came the fun part - trying to put on the seat belt. I nonchalantly brought the dangling buckle up to my waist, looked around to make sure no one was watching and sucked in my stomach as hard as I could. Strain. Grimace. Crap! There was no way it was going to buckle. I asked the stewardess for an extension. I love the way flight attendants bring you a seat belt extension. The roll it up tight and try to hide it in their hand. At least they try to hide it. I take it from their hand and snap it into place. There are times when I just can’t bring myself to ask for an extension. Here’s a tip on how to avoid that whole extension situation: all you have to do is bring up both ends of the seat belt, put the buckle ends as close as possible together and hold the ends together with one hand while with the other hand you drape a magazine or coat across you lap to cover it up.

Now for the last segment of torture. I try to get comfortable in my seat. This is impossible if you’re sitting right next to someone. I inevitably have to cross my arms and move my arms as close to my body as possible. Try doing that for the duration of a 5 hour flight.

On the menu today:
Breakfast – oatmeal, cup of yogurt
Mid-morning snack – 6 Triskit crackers and a white
Lunch – turkey burger without bread, ½ yam
Mid-afternoon snack – ¼ almonds, 1 banana
Dinner - (Applebees) my wife and I split a dinner of grilled salmon and chicken, broccoli and salad.

Met my friend Von at the Beanery for coffee after work, so I postponed walking until late evening.

I also emailed Mackie Shilstone today and told him how much his book "The Fat Burning Bible" has helped me. He was kind enough to email back:

"Randy, I wish you the best of success and good health on my program. It works. Please review the recommendations with your doctor, as the book recommends. I sense that you have taken ownership of your health. In other words you have stopped renting your health. You are most kind to mention my book in your blog. Please check in with questions or comments.
-Mackie Shilstone"

Another good day. Still going strong.


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Matt said...

Wow, Randy! Great blog. We know you can do what ever you set your mind to. Your friends and family are here to support you in any way we can. Keep the faith.

devon said...

wow randy.

you are really candid. somehow i'm like, endeared,... right word? to you. um.. you're endearing. that's what i mean! lol.

my sister was/still kinda is severely overweight. i've seen her go through such crap, avoid things... etc. she lost a lot of weight and still has a lot to go.

you can do it. i know you can. you've got us in the forum, and now you have your blog.

i lost a bit of weight too this summer,... maybe 7-10 lbs.. i just cut out a lot of stuff, started walking at lunch and do an hour power walk 4-5 x's a week. the weight literally just fell off!!!!!

i'm in your corner.

M said...

congratulations on your weight loss....continued success!