Cruise.

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392ish pounds on the left, 190ish pounds on the right.

‘Travel far enough, you meet yourself.’ — Cloud Atlas

I am leaving for a 16 day cruise.

Like…  I’m in the Portland airport and waiting for my plane to board.

This cruise is for work.  (I know, I know. I’m LUCKY and I really do have a great job!)

It’s a freaking once-in-a-lifetime-dream trip on a luxury cruise ship! Where do I get to go?!  From Florida through the Panama Canal and up to San Francisco with stops in 7 AMAZING countries and ports!  I am so lucky and truly honored that they would entrust me to represent our university and work with a bunch of adventure-seeking alumni.  I want to make the most of this opportunity!

So, I’m sitting at the airport and waiting for my flight to board.

And I’m fighting some anxiety. I have been for a few months.

I love travel and adventure and meeting new people and seeing new places.  That’s not at all what this particular anxiety is about…

This cruise is going to be an extended test of every piece of my lifestyle that I have worked so hard to cement, embrace and put in place.  It’s seriously shaking up my carefully crafted, intentional routine.

There will be unlimited, gourmet food.  No set routines.  I’ll be ‘unplugged’ for 16 days.

Did I mention the unlimited food?

Sounds like a version of heaven-on-earth that most of us dream of — right?!

I’m not entirely sure as I get ready to board the plane. I’m a little scared about this adventure.  But I think I’ve done my best to prepare.


This is really my first big trip since losing weight, reversing Type 2 Diabetes, learning to run and adopting a plant-based lifestyle.

I can’t help but compare the old/new me from time to time. In getting ready for this adventure I noticed a few really, really cool things about my new life:

  • I didn’t have to worry about packing insulin, needles, prescriptions bottles.
  • I got to buy a 2 piece bathing suit. (Polka dots!)
  • My running shoes were the very first thing given space in my suitcase.
  • I bought a sexy little cocktail dress that’s uncharacteristically daring for me.
  • I won’t be needing the seat belt extender on the plane. 🙂

When the advertising pieces for this luxury cruise were sent out there was a lot of emphasis on the food, french pastries, buffets, restaurants, eating…

So of course, as a former 400-pounder, that’s what I’ve been worried about for the last four months.

My former self would have CHERISHED this opportunity to gorge, indulge, over-eat, have food be a central focus, try ALL the new foods with NO EXCUSES needed.

I have spent the last few months making sure ‘that girl’ doesn’t show up on this trip.  She’s not invited. She’s not part of my life anymore. I know she lurks in the shadows at times, sometimes she sneaks back in beside me and I have to remind her to go away. 

I knew this would be a test. A really solid opportunity for me to see how all of these changes in my life can work when I’m out of my carefully crafted routine.


They told me I had been selected to go on this cruise.  And…

First, I panicked. (Hey. I’m human. This process of embracing a radically different lifestyle is NOT linear, as much as I would love it to be. How would my ‘new’ life work in this environment?)

Second, we reached out immediately and put a food plan in place with the boat. They know I eat plant based. They wrote me a really cool note telling me they were thrilled to be preparing food just for me.

Third, I have spent weeks reaching out to a handful of friends and asking for their support, encouragement, ideas. I got just what I wanted and needed from these wonderful souls because, well, I have amazing friends.

Here were their best advice and reminders…

  • One meal at a time. That’s all I have to focus on. Make one smart food choice at a time.
  • BE MINDFUL. Think about the food you choose to eat and make sure — each time — that it aligns with the goals you have for your life off of the boat.
  • BE PRESENT. Relax.  Enjoy.  LIVE.  Embrace the adventure. This is NOT just about food… Don’t make it all about food.
  • Stick to an activity plan, but get creative and USE the boat, new friends and the port visits to keep moving.
  • Journal and track your food. Those tools work for you, and they’re totally portable. 🙂

I’m boarding the plane and headed for the boat.

The trip of a lifetime.

I’ve packed and prepared and I think I am as ready for the adventure as I can be with good advice and a fabulous new polka dot bathing suit.

I’m ready to put this all to the test and see what new things I learn about myself in the process.

Bon Voyage!

 

 

 

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It is NOT the whole story…

Betsy in sun
Running into the sun, on trails, with friends…

I was just telling Spencer and one of our mentors, Shawna, recently that I wish I could re-write an article about me that was in Runner’s World Magazine. It talks about my weight loss/type 2 diabetes transformation.  It is answering the question ‘How running changed my life’. (Here is the Runners World Article)

I wasn’t even aware they were doing the profile. The first time it appeared I freaked out. Just a little. More than a year later and the story keeps popping up. It is AWESOME!  I get a total thrill/shock every single time I am scrolling through a feed on Facebook or Instagram and see my picture. 🙂

But I also cringe a little every single time it re-appears. Cringe?  WHY?!  Well… It misses the stories about the people that are very much a part of this whole adventure and the moments that make my heart sing and some of the things no one really wants to talk about.

 

Given the chance, I really would like to add/edit/re-write that story to make it a little more complete. Here’s what I would add, here are some of the key additions I would want people to know…

There are people who walked every single step of this journey with me. They believed in me when I embarked on this crazy, huge, scary lifestyle overhaul. I had proved to all of them that I was really, really good at failing at diets. I have a life-time worth of experience at failing at diets.  They stuck with me anyway.

My running coach, Spencer, is the one person who has put up with untold amounts of sass and tears and freaking-ridiculous-questions as I continue to learn to run. Spencer has watched each mile build into more miles and bigger goals and even bigger dreams.

My running and training partners. The ones who meet me at o’dark thirty.  In the rain.  With smiles and headlamps and laughter and patience.  The ones who encourage shenanigans.  The ones who helped me learn how to pee in the woods – and not get caught or get poison oak. 🙂  The ones who encourage me to sign up for crazy-ass distances for the fun/adventure/epicness of it – just to help me test my boundaries.  The ones who spend their vacation time traveling to a race to run some of the late-stage miles with you to make sure your butt crosses that finish line.

Kyle at Gallagher’s in Salem.  Kyle fit me into my first ‘real’ walking shoes when I was finally down to 280 pounds, registering for a walking marathon and had finally scrounged up every last ounce of courage I had to walk into a ‘real running’ store. Kyle was kind and helpful and never once acted like I didn’t belong in their store. Never. I still buy my shoes at Gallagher’s.  I went in to see him today as a matter of fact.

They didn’t talk about how much I hated.  hated.  hated.  those first few tentative steps that were trying to learn to run.  How embarrassed I was and mortified at the thought one of my neighbors would see my 250 pounds bouncing along with my face a charming shade of ‘heart-attack red’.  Or how I was breathing so hard I genuinely felt like I was going to throw up. And yet even as hard as it was, I oddly and intuitively knew I could not give up. I had to keep trying to put one foot in front of the other no matter what anyone thought. This was the make-it-or-break-it point.

They didn’t talk about how hard I worked for and how much I cherished some of the first days I ran without those extra 10 pounds of skin hanging around my belly.  Or how months later when I was all healed Josh and Wendie went for a run with me in Bend (3+ hours from home), on isolated trails, so I would feel comfortable stripping down to just shorts and my sports bra to go for a run.  That ‘shorts and sports bra’ dream was hatched the very first time I ever went to a race and saw women running comfortably and carefree in next to nothing. I on the other hand was carefully and strategically covered in head-to-toe compression gear just to keep my extra skin on my belly from gaining unstoppable momentum and beating me to death.  I ran that day with josh and wendie in just shorts and sports bra.  I felt the sun on my belly.  And the sun on my mid-back.  And I was running on world-class trails. With cherished and trusted friends who knew what this meant to me.  I felt free, brave, happy – and comfortable in my own skin for the first time in a long time.

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Just a sports bra.  Oh.  And shorts.  I have on shorts. I promise.

They didn’t talk about how when I finally ran one full mile without stopping I bawled like a baby out of pure joy and quickly called my friend Wade to tell him… I HAD DONE IT!!  (Bets!  QUIT YELLING IN THE PHONE!)  I was hooked at that moment on asking my body to try to do more… I knew in that moment that my body was strong and my mind could be my biggest weapon if I wanted to work on them both…  🙂  Could I do a mile and half?  Could I possibly run a 5K at some point?  What else could I do?  What else in life had I missed out on because I had been obese and immobile?  Oh my heavens…  I felt like the doors to the whole-wide-world were finally opening and I was getting to run though them…

They really didn’t tell the whole story.

They didn’t tell my favorite parts of my story. 🙂

And maybe that’s good.

I mean, my story isn’t over.

Not by a long shot.

I’m still really busy writing it.

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Signing up for the 100 miler.  Happy and excited and realizing I get to live my dreams…