Stephtay

Under the sea

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Before WLS I would snorkel whenever I had the chance. My honeymoon was a tropical trip so my husband and I could snorkel! I am a life long water person. Learned to swim before I could walk. Was my father's first mate in many sailboat races before I was 10. Went on to teach sailing in my early 20's. I was always interested in scuba, but scared to try. I finally got up the nerve to try when I was approx 300 pounds. The dive master couldn't get me weighted right and I kept flipping on my back like a turtle due to all my belly weight. Then, she tried to drag me under. It was about as awful as it sounds. 

After I'd made the decision to have WLS, I made a long list of all the things I wanted to do after I lost weight:  ride roller coasters, run a mile, get out of plus sizes, etc. On that list I added learn to scuba dive. For me, diving was a lofty goal. Between JAWS, my first attempt at scuba and a healthy respect for how quickly things can go wrong in water, I had a lot to overcome. 

I got certified last Fall and took my 2nd diving trip last week. What helped me to push through my fears about surgery and stick to the plan to lose weight (and try to stick to it to keep it off) was/is WLS was my one chance to hit the re-set button on my life. I often said "no" to activities and invites when I was 250+. I would still go to the beach, snorkel, ski and many other things. But I declined to stand up with friends at their weddings. I didn't give scuba a second try. I skipped a tropical "girls' weekend" because they were all thin and would be wearing cute sundresses. I would have been the fat one sweating buckets in my black tunic and leggings. 

It's been 3.5 years since my WLS. I keep it top of mind everyday so I don't over eat or over drink. But, it is hard to remember how tough life was at 300 pounds. On this diving trip I jumped off the boat and climbed back on with 40+ pounds of scuba gear several times a day. It was a piece of cake compared to how hard it was to climb back on a boat when my body was 300 pounds and I had no gear! 

Sharing all of this with the hope to inspire someone who might be on the fence about WLS or is post-op and having a rough moment.

I also learned to love color post-op. That's me in the pink and blue wetsuit. I wore all black everyday for so long the goth kids were telling me to take a break. No more all black for me anymore. :)

 

 

 

 

 

2017-04-26 09_37_44-2017-04-20 09.33.24.jpg.png

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This makes me happy and excited about my own future.  In the past ten pounds I marked of worrying about standing on a ladder off my list!  It's amazing the mental change it has been along with the physical.  I still have a long ways to go but I'm better than yesterday.

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I'm so glad you shared this. I first became scuba certified in 2012 so my family and I could do a tropical vacation on the water and I loved every minute of it (as much as I let myself) but it was so difficult to be 280+ pounds plus a steel tank plus my vest weights to keep me balanced in the water. I was always so self-conscious on how much air I was using on each dive or whether there would be anyone on the boat to help me back in out of the water. Which had the positive lining of staying in the water as long as I could to avoid getting out, but I always knew it was waiting for me. And yeah, in the black swim gear and suits, I felt like a beached whale. :( 

Seeing your picture is so encouraging and makes me want to work as hard as possible to get back into the water. And to pull myself by myself on to the boat afterwards!

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That is so awesome!  I am so with you!  Fear overrode my life.  I'm terrified of water!  My idea of swimming is wading knee deep.  I first hatched the idea of WLS while beached in a chair waiting for my scuba diving husband.  He is a nut!  I always told him I get certified if I could get health clearance.  Well, after surgery he started to pester me.  He's a PADI scuba instructor, so he worked with me.  I checked one thing off at a time.  I found I really did love it.  We leave Saturday for 2 weeks diving in Cayman...

my wardrobe was grays; anything to blend in.   I still struggle getting color.  

Love seeing your pictures!

 

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I can so relate to your experiences with scuba diving as a heavy person. I was certified about 10 years ago and was the "floatiest" person in my group - although at that time I was much thinner than now. I disliked squeezing into the wetsuit, which never fit right. I disliked having to take a lot of extra weights with me. I disliked having to sit around in the boat afterward with a bunch of skinny people in their bathing suits. So, I have never really gone after the first couple weeks of lots of dives on that vacation. This, despite the fact that all of my very best friends are avid divers and they go on vacations to do that together. I maintain that I do not like diving (not true). I'm looking forward to retrying diving as a normal sized person. It's a big motivator for me :) 

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Inspiring Stephtay. Never tried diving myself even though I always was a water baby. Between Jaws and vertigo, it's probably not in my future either, but I can certainly appreciate that for many it would be aspirational.

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40 minutes ago, Aussie H said:

Inspiring Stephtay. Never tried diving myself even though I always was a water baby. Between Jaws and vertigo, it's probably not in my future either, but I can certainly appreciate that for many it would be aspirational.

Oh, you live in a wonderful dive place!  The Great Barrier Reef!  I could only imagine!  Hey Steph, we should plan a trip to Australia;).  It's so freeing not to be tried to your fears!  

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You are a real inspiration friend! I am adding this to my bucket list! AWESOME!

Edited by WildSpirit68

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3 hours ago, Cheesehead said:

Oh, you live in a wonderful dive place!  The Great Barrier Reef!  I could only imagine!  Hey Steph, we should plan a trip to Australia;).  It's so freeing not to be tried to your fears!  

Yes Australia is a wonderful dive place. That said I actually live in the desert, thousands of miles away from The Great Barrier Reef. That said there are still excellent dive locations in South Australia, many where unique, endangered and non-life threatening aquatic creatures live. Shame about all the White Pointers though. A lot of the Jaws underwater locations were actually in South Australia. I'll never feel the same way about our waters since that film was released!!!!

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Yeah Steph!!  You are an inspiration to us all. 

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I'm so envious of you Steph.  Bobbing around on the surface with a face mask on is about as much as I've done.  I have a bit of a claustrophobia problem. 

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5 hours ago, cinwa said:

I'm so envious of you Steph.  Bobbing around on the surface with a face mask on is about as much as I've done.  I have a bit of a claustrophobia problem. 

The view is just as good from the surface!

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Oh Steph. This is my favorite post in like months. This is so what it's all about for me.

Clothes are great, but life experiences are priceless and last forever!

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LOVE this!

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On 4/28/2017 at 8:37 PM, Clickin said:

Oh Steph. This is my favorite post in like months. This is so what it's all about for me.

Clothes are great, but life experiences are priceless and last forever!

Thank you! Yes, clothes are great but the experiences!

 

I was thinking this weekend how when I was big I would say yes to things people wanted from me or wanted me to do for them but no to experiences and other activities if I was afraid I wouldn't physically be able to do it or I would feel too self conscious about how I looked. Now, it is the opposite. I say yes to activities and experiences but I am far less likely to say yes to things people want from me. My priorities have changed and I'm happier for it!

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So happy for you Steph! Seems that life just gets better everyday!

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AWESOME!!! What a wonderful story I was just telling my son that this was on my bucket list. I am scheduled for my surgery Monday 05/15/17.  Looking forward to being able to take a pic like this.  Thanks for sharing. 

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1 minute ago, clark924 said:

AWESOME!!! What a wonderful story I was just telling my son that this was on my bucket list. I am scheduled for my surgery Monday 05/15/17.  Looking forward to being able to take a pic like this.  Thanks for sharing. 

Looks like you are in/near Houston? Lots of great places to dive in the Caribbean that are a direct flight for you! 

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Sure are I can't wait !!!

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Clark, go for it!  We are diving Cayman Brac this week!  Beautiful.  I used to sit in a chair reading, waiting for my hubby to get back from his dives.  Now I'm his dive buddy:). He does 3-4 dives a day.  This week I've become a 3 a day diver:).   Under the sea is the place to be:)

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Stephtay, 

Beautiful. 

A great story. Thanks for sharing it. Like many of the other respondents, learned to dive a long time ago (got my first license in 1969) but haven't done it in years. Makes me think about a winter vacation this year when I'm a bit more svelte and the family is aching for warmth. 

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17 minutes ago, BurgundyBoy said:

Stephtay, 

Beautiful. 

A great story. Thanks for sharing it. Like many of the other respondents, learned to dive a long time ago (got my first license in 1969) but haven't done it in years. Makes me think about a winter vacation this year when I'm a bit more svelte and the family is aching for warmth. 

BB-if you haven't dived in a long time you may want to check out a refresher course at the local dive shop.  They aren't expensive!  

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HI Cheesehead, great idea. I did a refresher with my son about 4-5 years ago, but our path did not lead to warm seas since then. New England diving is murky and cold... I did some in my 20s but when I outgrew my wetsuit I put scuba aside. Continued to snorkel though. Equipment now is way better than what it used to be. 

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Wow, congrats Stephtay.

Love love love this picture. You are a total inspiration. I think I'm going to start a bucket list now!

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