This begins the next step of my journey

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When I walked the Magic Island path on November 14th, 2011, I have to confess something:

I didn’t know how much I weighed.

Now, a statement like that wouldn’t seem to be a huge thing, as if you asked 100 people their weight, most wouldn’t be able to give you an exact figure. Now, consider this:

I had no idea what my actual weight was.

If you go back to those 100 people and asked them what they thought their weight was, 95-99 of them would be able to tell you within, I would say, 10lb or 5kg depending on what part of the world you’re in. I, on the other hand, would have been way off, and not by a small amount.

Now, as I depart this morning for Hawaii, I can say this:

I’ve lost (at least) 180 pounds in 2 years

At that time, the best guess that we have as far as a weight at that time is something well above 500 pounds. Which really makes what I did in 2011 that much more amazing. I flew myself all the way over to the other side of the world, using a single seat (though it was a very difficult fit into the single seat), travelling around a new country to see tons of sights, and then flying back home

Looking back, that trip was just beginning a journey that is being capped off (for the moment) with a return trip to a place where I missed out on so much last time.

My original plan (which I hadn’t really planned out too well, as I well hadn’t planned it) was to travel by bus to Pearl Harbor, and visit there. After that, I was then going to head to Ala Moana mall and meet up with beedoo and her travelling party, where we would enjoy a going away dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp.

Due to my poor planning of the day in Hawaii, when I arrived, I was frantically trying to figure out how to store my bags; if I’m remembering correctly, beedoo may have mentioned to me the Aloha Airport Delivery and Storage people, but I didn’t store any of their contact information. Not only that, I was worried about having to pay overage fees for the baggage while I travelling back to the mainland.

Among that was spending time in a restroom where, while changing clothes for the day, I worked out what the baggage fees were and also reorganized the bags to ensure that I was closer to the weight limit. When I went to contact the people from the baggage place, I didn’t get through right away, which put me in a bit of a fit, and made me worried that they didn’t exist.

Ultimately, however, they did answer and picked up my bags, even allowing me to pay for the storage when I picked it up since there were no ATMs at the airport, and the only US currency I had on me were a few $1 notes I hadn’t changed plus some assorted coins. They provide a great service and it is something that is indispensable since the Honolulu Airport doesn’t have any on-site storage facilities.

Unfortunately, this had frustrated me already, but myย next course of action was to go to the post office and ship out the box of stuff that I was bringing home. Unlike many other airports, Honolulu does not have a post office inside the airport. However, I found out that the post office was not that far away:

airport to po

Instead of retelling the story, I will insert a portion of an email I sent to beedoo while sitting at the interisland terminal while walking to theBus to go to Ala Moana. The spelling is as it was on the email:

…I was off to the post office. Or so I thought. I get I where I can finally see the post office and realize that I have to go across a busy street mud block and there is a fence. So I start walking towards what look like police officers on bikes, which is what they were.

However as I get to the curb, it’s not a straight up and down curb, it’s angled, so then I wind up losing my balance and falling. Not into grass or anything but a rock garden and thankfully I don’t thinking anything was hirt myself especially. The cops saw this and asked if I was ok and u am, maybe done scratches cut nothing major

So, after that, it was off to Ala Moana shopping center and then to home.

Before I went to Australia, I started to do something that was, initially, to allow me to get used to the concept of being more active – for bushwalking (which sadly we did not do very much of), doing different tours, and just general moving around. That was to go to the gym.

I started out with a guest pass at a gym in the town I work in (which, incidentally, has a location in a town close to beedoo, which helped in choosing the gym, as we were thinking that we’d possibly go to the gym while I was there), and that guest pass, based on my work timeline, allowed me to go to the gym after work.

In the two years and 4 months since, I’ve been to the gym well, nearly every night after work. In fact, the times that I have not gone to the gym after work are very few – maybe under 50 or so, and most of them actually coming this last summer due to a new post work activity that I have discovered – swimming, which I finally learnt to do this summer on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work for 6 weeks.

Anyway, I started off doing just some light work (i.e. treadmill for around 30 minutes at a very low speed, like 2 mph/3km/h), then moving along to more heavy duty stuff like the elliptical; at first about 5 minutes, but then going up to 15, then 20, then 25 minutes. Incidentally, I’m now up to a full hour nightly on the elliptical.

As a matter of fact, I had already started to lose quite a bit of weight before going to Australia; if you look at the difference in my passport picture (taken in July) and pictures taken while in Australia, there was already a difference in my face. Again, not having any earthly idea of what my actual weight was, I have no way of quantifying how much I had lost up until that time.

The reality is that I weighed, even after losing some weight, probably over 500 pounds

However, the weight really did not start to come off until March of 2012 when, realizing that it was time to finally make a change, I bought a gift card from Costco for the “weekends off” Nutrisystem plan to give that plan a go. Ever since then, I have kept up the Nutrisystem plan, but going with the full orders, as that is really a much better value for your money than the weekends off plan, especially when I am able to get the plan for quite literally half off (thanks to the awesomeness of Costco, where not only do I save, I manage to get 3% cash back through my membership)

It was shortly after that when I was, only about 4 years after buying a high-capacity scale, able to finally get a measurement of my weight. At that time, I weighed 203kg, or 446lb. I kept going with the plan, and the pounds kept coming off. Throughout 2012, I would check my weight, and it would go down little by little, progressing through the (in kgs) 180s, 170s and 160s, and then into the 150s, which is what I wound up the year in, with a weight in February of 2013 of 154.3kg, or about 340lb.

Among the things that I was able to do during this time was to basically buy some new clothes, but not only that, I was able to fit into clothes that I fit in while I was in school, or more than 10 years ago while I was on my way up. One of my proudest moments was when I was able to fit into my suit jacket. This is a piece of clothing that, the last time I had worn it, I was a senior in high school. Because of my weight, I was unable to wear my suit to my brother’s wedding and it really depressed me because it made me feel like an outcast since I was the only one who wasn’t wearing a suit, rather I was forced to wear a sweater.

For a while, my weight had levelled off at around 320 lb (145kg) for some time, but a few weeks ago, while I was still doing my meal plan, I started to increase the amount of exercise that I would do, ramping up to the full hour on the elliptical that I described above, and in doing so, burning right around 1,000 calories every night. In that time, I have been able to take off some more weight, bringing my most recent weigh in at the scale in the gym on 312 lb (141kg).

One last thing re the clothes: last Saturday night I drove from work to the destination XL store nearest to me (then I went to the gym afterward). The last time that I bought pants, I bought pants at a waist size of 56 and 58 from a general goods store (Blain’s Farm & Fleet, which is not to be confused with Mills Fleet Farm). The waist size that I bought on Saturday? 52. I almost bought the 50s but I did want to have something slightly more comfortable. As it is, on my previous clothes buying, I bought a 54/56 inch belt. After a few months I had to make a new hole on it because it was too loose. Sadly, those belts broke down due to the extra hole. So, I had to buy new ones and I got 50/52s ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall, this had been a long journey and one that will never end as I have to keep exercising and watching my diet (though I have learnt that you can splurge occasionally as long as you watch what you have the rest of the day. That and that hummus is awesome), because I never want to be back where I was just over two years ago, when the only clothes I could buy was from the specialty section of the specialty big and tall store (think a waist size of nearly 70 inches; 66 or 68 was a tough time for me to get into back then).

I hope that my story inspires others to take it upon themselves and work to a better future for themselves. I have been able to do it without surgical intervention, which I have seen so many people turn to as a “quick fix” only to see it fail and they go back to the size they were previously.

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The Final Countdown

7 days left as of today.
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Updates –

– I activated my new debit card and credit card which was a lot easier than expected.

– Last minute preparations are going to be made slightly more difficult by the fact of working 6 days in a row for the 3rd week running.

– The extra money from working 6 days in a row for 3 weeks in a row will be very welcome on the trip, though!

– Hoa’aloha and I (Ok, mostly I!) have been busy scheduling posts so you will have plenty to enjoy while we are away and we can forget about blogging while on the trip and just take plenty of photos and write down our thoughts to share with you when we arrive home

There is a Tripadvisor meetup scheduled for November 9th – if you are on Oahu you will be very welcome to join us, see this thread for updates. –

Financials Updated

I have just updated the Financials page with some actual figures from some of the things I have now paid for and booked. FYI. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will like now to mention a small financial setback which has occurred – one of our cats became quite ill. She has spent over a week at the vets on IV fluids and having tests done.

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A very grumpy face on arrival home from 7 straight days at the vets

Of course, as it is me, my cat cannot have something normal wrong with her – she got something which is really rare for cats, pancreatitis. This is good news because it was fixable, and it was not caused by cancer which is also great news.

It was bad news money wise – over 2 thousand in vet fees. Of course I paid it without a quibble, she is my much loved pet. And I managed to do it without touching my savings, which currently is sitting at $7099. It did mean I could not add anything to the savings for a couple of weeks, so I am a little behind. I plan to try and catch it up – and to that end, I have grabbed an extra shift each week at work – one last week, one next week.

However I was already working 5 shifts a week the past few weeks, so adding in that extra shift means I am working 6 shifts each week. They are only 6 hours long but they are very tiring. It also means I have a bit less time to research and blog, sorry all!

I’m going to need a holiday to get over preparing for the holiday and then taking the holiday. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway I do have the prepacking post coming up which I finally finished, and then I want to do a post for you on no international fee credit cards. After that it might get a bit quiet around here while we take our trip. I will try to make sure at least one photo gets posted each day leading up to and during the trip, if I can.

Itinerary Changes

We now have less than 3 months to Hawaii..

With that in mind, we are starting to tighten up the itinerary a bit, adding in some things, taking out some things, making some decisions on what we want to do.

Given that my other half celebrates his birthday while we are there, the one thing he most wanted to do was this – Dillingham Public Star Party. He loves astronomy.

This means we have to hire a car on Saturday November the 2nd in order to get out there. So we figured if we pick the car up about noon, we’ll head off to Costco for the Saturday Afternoon Insanity of Costco because while we have a car, we can bring stuff like snacks and other shopping back to the condo.

I know it will be busy but we will be in Hawaii, so we will suck it up.

One place we are saying no to now is Hanuama Bay. We just think it will turn into an agony of frustration for us. Too busy, too many people who just watched a video telling them not to touch the coral doing what they were just told not to do.. and do you say something and risk what happens as a result of that, or do you keep your mouth shut and then get angry at yourself for not speaking up..

It is all a bit too much angst for a relaxing holiday. We are looking into other options but may end up spending part of this day at the Ala Moana Beach Park instead. Looks like a great place to spend the day, no?

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Ala Moana Beach Park

We have added in the twilight tour at the Honolulu Zoo which was on special on living social. Being a former zoo tour guide myself I am a great fan of zoo tours.

The next big part of planning is to start narrowing down where we plan to eat. This sounds like it should be an easy thing but seriously it is not. There are so many great options. And one of those people travelling is the world’s pickiest eater – yes, my other half.

I have read so much about so many places to eat, I think we could probably improvise this and not have a plan, just go with the flow. On the other hand, it helps with the budgeting to know where you’ll go and what you might have there – not to mention it helps with the picky eater because you can show him the menu and he can choose what he would eat.

The other big step we’ll take shortly is to do a practice pack – it could even be a for real pack because we are only taking enough clothes for 4 days and they are summer clothes, it is winter here just now. I’ll post some pictures of that when I get a chance. ๐Ÿ™‚