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Welcome to the inside of my brain. Here, I share experiences, tips, tricks and fun things I've learned during my weight loss journey. 

  • Gail Ballin

The Lazy River Fail.

Gail Ballin MS LPC CCM

I've allowed my weight to limit me from experiencing some things I've always wanted to try. For example, I always wanted to go whitewater rafting. I've had several opportunities to go, but I've never been a strong swimmer and I was afraid that my bulk would sink the raft and cause everyone to plummet into the water and die a watery death.

That may sound dramatic, but when I was at my heaviest, that's how my mindset worked. I was really afraid of trying new things because of physical limitations and/or because I was afraid of failing and/or looking like an idiot. Here's an example. The summer of 2015 I was visiting my brother and his children in Houston, Texas. My kids and I spent a month with them and we would take a few trips here and there to visit sites around the state. It was a lot of fun. Except for a the day we went to the water park.

Now, anyone who has ever been extremely overweight can attest that being at a water park is not fun for several reasons 1) you have to wear a bathing suit in front of THOUSANDS of people 2) with little kids, your forced to go into the water, so there's no hiding in a beach chair under an umbrella drinking a Corona and pretending you're on the Mexican Riviera 3) the kids expect you to go on all of the slides and on the lazy river and 4) did I mention having to wear a bathing suit in front of THOUSANDS of people??

I would do anything for my children and my nieces and nephews but I tried my damnedest to get out of this one but my brother wouldn't hear of it and neither would the kids.

"Oh, I think it looks like rain...." I said.

"That's alright, we're wearing bathing suits, so we can get wet!" said my 4 year old nephews.

"Don't you think it's too hot for the kids to be outside all day like this?" I whined.

"We're in Texas, Mom, it's going to be hot wherever we go," said my daughter who clearly wasn't going to give me an inch. I glanced at my son in sheer panic. He rolled his eyes and said "come on, mom."

"I think the sun is too strong..." I moaned.

"Seriously, Gail. Do you want me to just leave you in the car?" my brother responded. (Please make note that he did not offer to leave the air conditioning on).

Tempted. I was so tempted to accept that offer, but I didn't. I got into my bathing suit and went into the water park patting myself on the back for being such a trooper. Little did I know....

I declined to go on any of the slides for fear of hurting myself. There was no way I was going to break a bone or the slide with my cumbersome weight.

I did spend some time in the wave pool, but the kids got bored with that quickly and ran off to the lazy river. I couldn't blame them. After awhile the wave pool was boring so I decided to join them.

The lazy river looked safe enough so I decided to give it a try.

If you don't know what a lazy river is, imagine sitting in an inner tube floating around a pool shaped like a river. There are occasional waterfalls and splash zones, but for the most part, it's benign.

Unless you're me.

I made my way to the appropriate area and grabbed a bright yellow inner tube. I made my way to the shallow end of the pool and attempted to get into the inner tube. As I started to sit down, the yellow tube flew out from under me and right over my head. I screamed, fell backwards, upside down and under water. Water rushed up my nose and I panicked. I initially thought that I was drowning and then once I realized I was OK, I was absolutely mortified. I felt embarrassed because I wasn't physically capable of getting into the inner tube. Once I surfaced I looked around to see if anyone saw my major fail. As I looked up, I saw a few kids snickering. They had smiles on their faces but the look in their eyes was that of pity. I think that look hurt worse than the laughter.

I pulled myself together and left the lazy river. I went to the concession stand and bought food. I don't remember what I purchased, but I have no doubt that it was fattening and full of calories. 

Trying to placate my feelings with food was not an unusual reaction for the old me. When I was upset, I would always turn to food to help ease some of the pain. I thought it would make me feel better, but in the end, it only made me feel worse because the guilt would set in and I would regret the decision to eat. The guilt made me uncomfortable, and so I would reach for the food again and the cycle continued until I was so full I couldn't eat another thing.

I planted myself in a beach chair under an umbrella with my food for the remainder of the afternoon.The kids would come hang for awhile, but for the most part, I sat there alone and miserable.

That afternoon may have been a disaster, but I learned some valuable lessons that day. I realized that I set myself up for failure before I even went into the park. I had a negative attitude that I carried with me all day long and it contributed to my emotional reaction. I was embarrassed by my size and I was afraid of what people would say and think about me. Giving people that kind of power is incredibly debilitating. I also know that emotional eating is a perpetual cycle of feelings, food, guilt, anger and more food.

These lessons helped shape me and eventually motivated me to adopt a healthy lifestyle and shed the pounds. As I look back, I'm grateful for my hell day in the waterpark because it helped change me into who I am today.

What events have you experienced that helped you get to where you are today? How do you think they will influence you on your journey to better health? Think about how you can use negative events in your life to help prompt you to achieve your goals.

Sometimes just looking at the negative in a more positive light can make a huge difference.

Bee Happy. Bee Healthy. .

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