I was (sorta) Miss Sea World

Miss Sea World

Miss Sea World (kinda)

I originally told this story way back last March when no one knew about my blog. Everytime I come across this picture it makes me happy, so I thought I’d share the story with you who probably missed it. . .

It was extremely difficult to gain weight. Not the gaining weight part – that was easy. But it was hard to go from overweight, to obese, to morbidly obese. I felt judged.  I was ridiculed.  I endured humiliation.  At 300 pounds, physical activity was very difficult for me.  Simple things were impossible to do, and I lived in a virtual prison of my own making.

BUT, once I started losing a substantial amount of weight, the change in my attitude and the attitude of those around me were very encouraging.  Sometimes though, I secretly worried that no matter how much weight I lost, some people would still perceive me as fat.

After I had lost about 110 pounds, my mom and the rest of my family went to visit Sea World.  We loaded everyone and everything in the van and drove to Orlando.  What a difference those 110 pounds made in my energy level.  Instead of lumbering through the park with a fake smile pasted on my face, I enthusiastically walked from show to show, and exhibit to exhibit.  At times it felt as though my family had to hurry to keep up with me, instead of vice versa.  It was turning out to be a great day.

The highlight of the day came as we sat in the big arena to watch the killer whale show.  As we were waiting for the show to begin, we watched the beautiful killer whales swim around the large pool.  They were amazing.  Imagine my surprise when one of the Sea World employees came up to my family, walked over to ME, and asked me if I’d like to be the trainer’s “helper” for the show.  Very calmly I said, “Sure.”  However in my mind, I was screaming, “ME, ME?”   You see, I knew that if I had weighed 300 pounds, he would NOT have selected me to be the helper.  As a Floridian, I had been to amusement parks countless times and had never seen a morbidly obese person asked to “assist the trainer.” 

It was a wonderful experience to have the female killer whale trainer point to me, and ask me to come down.  I walked down the stairs and greeted her.  I stood in front of the huge audience, did what she asked, and had my picture put up on the gigantic screen.  As I stood there I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time.  I realized that people didn’t see my as obese anymore.  I realized that I had passed moved through obesity and survived.  All the hard work and dedication were paying off, and I was proud.

I remember looking over at John and the children.  The girls were waving and bouncing in their seats, and the smile on John’s face was a memory I’ll always carry.  When my little part in the show was over, I sat back down.  John put his arm around me and said, “That was one memory I’ll never forget.”  I leaned into him and said, “Me neither.”  For the rest of the day, as I walked around the park, people who had been at that show would say, “There’s the girl who got to pet Shamu.”  I would think to myself, “Yes, and here’s the woman who will never go back to being fat again.”   

Over and over again throughout the years since losing my weight I’ve seen dreams realized that I probably would have thought out of reach as an obese woman. And that’s my fault – because my confidence level was around my ankles rather than bursting through the ceiling. Nevertheless, those experiences and dreams are some of the things that kept me going in pursuit of long-term health and fitness.

Where are you today? Are there experiences you’d like to have or dreams that haven’t been realized?  Weight loss certainly isn’t a magic cure. But losing weight improved my health and gave me energy to try things I never would have attempted before. Thanks for sharing my story!  Diane

43 thoughts on “I was (sorta) Miss Sea World

  1. Amy says:

    Diane, reading your post has gotten me all verklempt – the feeling you describe reminds me so much of how I felt when I crossed the finish line at my first 5K, and then later, the first half marathon. Amazed, almost disbelief, but incredibly proud and grateful. Those kinds of experiences are so miraculous!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Just Another Tuesday Morning (not!) =-.

  2. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, I so loved this story & thank you so much for sharing again because I did not read it the first time. What a wonderful memory to keep forever! I guess I still have dreams I am after BUT for me, the fact that I did bodybuilding at 37&38 years old & won both contests, although small ones shows that we all can do something we never thought we once could!

    Thank you again!
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Book Review – Female Brain Gone Insane; GIVEAWAY! =-.

  3. Samantha says:

    This is such a wonderful story and it makes me realize how many times I WAS overlooked as an obese person and am still overlooked. It’s one of those little talked about things that happen.

    Perhaps you might like to do a post on that? How you felt being overlooked in life – if you felt like you were. Thanks!

  4. Sara N. says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I think that it’s sad that you are right that you probably wouldn’t have been picked if you were still very overweight. I think that says something not good about our society in general.

    I’ve experienced a lot of better treatment as I lost weight and looked better. It’s an interesting thing to experience.

    My dream right now is to get to my goal weight!

  5. Mia says:

    Loved your story! 🙂

    When I was FAT, I put life on hold! I was too embarrassed to see my friends, to go out on a date (with another one who struggled with his weight), to even walk across a room full of people! This was not ME!

    I got to the point where I essentially did nothing but study (I was in college at the time) and eat. Sad. Finally, I realized that I had it. I was going to pretend that I was at my goal weight and live that way. So I quite dieting, started exercising and slowly, reconnected with life. I am so glad I did too!


  6. Hope @ Hope's Journey says:

    What a great post Diane!

    I feel like I have so many dreams that haven’t been realized yet, even though I can’t think of any right now. I just can’t wait to live the rest of my life healthfully.

    I went to Sea World for my honeymoon, as an obese girl, and now that I think about it, I remember being SUPER tired the entire time I was there. I think if I were to go back (and someday, I will) I will be like you..SO much energy. Ready to tackle the world.

    Also, one of the dreams that I realized while losing weight was being able to shop at normal size places, not being limited to Lane Bryant, and not watching with envy as my friends went to whatever store they wanted. 🙂 Make me smile.

    Anyways, hope you have a great day, and thanks for the post.


  7. Diane says:

    A great story !
    For me it was finally getting pregnant. I have PCOS which is a metabolic condition that also impairs fertility. Losing weight helps to bring it to a manageable level (it never goes away or can be cured) but with it losing weight is very difficult. Losing 110 pounds finally made me regular enough to conceive, and that made me feel like I won a marathon, was a rockstar, won an Oscar and a lot more . Weight loss does not make everything perfect, but it sure helps for a lot of things !
    .-= Diane´s last blog .. =-.

  8. thin100 says:

    Diane, I cried as I read your blog today! I felt like I was there, in your shoes. I have seen such a difference in the way that people treat me since I have lost some of my weight. It is sad, but true. So here I am snuggled up in my bed, with morning sickness, reading blogs, and in the back of my head I hear, “get up and go to the gym.” So thank you for moviating me to go work out today. I needed that. 🙂
    .-= thin100´s last blog ..3 day Weekend =-.

  9. Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42 says:

    I remember that story when I poured over your blog after I first discovered it. Amazing.

    I sent you the Happy 101 Award to let you know I think you are great. I know you are busy and don’t expect you to do the 10 and 10. Just enjoy!
    .-= Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42´s last blog ..Happy 101 Award =-.

  10. Tiffany says:

    Thanks for sharing! I have a feeling that as I continue to lose weight I will become acutely aware of just how much of life I have been missing out on- I’m actually a little afraid to find out just how much people have actually been judging me this whole time and I just haven’t been aware of it- I’m glad you don’t have to face that anymore!
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Day #19: To Count or Not to Count…That is My Question! =-.

  11. The Chubby Girl Diaries says:

    Diane, that post was so encouraging! I have tears in my eyes now! I am so happy that you shared that! What a great experience you had!! 🙂

    Today, I am 9 pounds lighter than I was 5 weeks ago. I feel much more energetic and I proved to myself that I can last for an hour at the gym pushing myself to my limits.

    When I lose all of this weight, I want to do the amusement park thing with the kids. And, I want to go on vacation with my husband. Somewhere where I will need to put on a bathing suit!

    .-= The Chubby Girl Diaries´s last blog ..I can do it and so can YOU! =-.

  12. Taryl says:

    I remember you mentioning this – it is such a beautiful, encouraging memory! And I am with Miz, I just LOVE your blog. You are so encouraging, reminding us every day that you did it, and we can too. You are the best, Diane!
    .-= Taryl´s last blog ..Good to see you, too! =-.

  13. Susan says:

    I have no big, long, rambling comment like I usually do. I just had to stop in and tell you this post was beautiful 😀 If you ever publish a book, this story needs to be in it.

  14. kilax says:

    What a wonderful story, and wonderful opportunity.

    You know, it is AMAZING how much energy you gain, even if you lose just a little weight!

  15. Leah says:

    This really is a wonderful memory.

    Off the top of my head I can’t think of anything I want to achieve except to run a 5K and to be able to show everyone,mainly friends and family, that I got control of my poor eating habits. I look forward to not only reaching my goal some day, but also beginning to bank years of maintenance on top of that.

    hhmm…. I should write that down, because it motivates me just to put it out on “paper”.

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