Thursday, July 8, 2010

Battle of the Bulge

My trip to Hawaii was a mix of business and pleasure, as well as the displeasure of seeing my brother Geoff off as he and his fellow Army soldiers were deployed to Iraq. It was so fun to spend time with both he and his wife, Girlie. However, right off the bat, I new I'd be in trouble diet-wise if I didn't stick with my plan of fish and fruit and do my best to squeeze some exercise in.

Day 2: My brother and I had fun boogie-boarding on Oahu's North Shore.


Day 3: Geoff, Girlie and I spent the day driving around Oahu.
We stopped at Hanauma Bay to take this picture.

I never really realized until this trip, during which I got to spend five days with my brother before he deployed, how much my brother loves to eat! Fortunately for him, being in the army involves mandatory "PT" that typically includes running six miles each day. With a workout routine like that, you can stand to enjoy life's culinary pleasures.

But, I could tell from the moment my brother picked me up and took me to lunch at local hot spot -- Maui Mike's, which is famous for their fire-roasted chicken -- that I was deployed on my own mission. My mission was to survive my brother continually tempting me with all of the culinary treats Hawaii had to offer.

At our first feast, instead of choosing the Maui Wowie Melt Sandwich at Maui Mike's, which is shredded chicken with oozing cheese accompanied by greasy french fries (my brother informed me was their specialty), I chose shredded skinless chicken with barbecue sauce and no side of fries. Plus a Diet Coke.

After lunch, we spent some time shopping -- my brother loves to shop, which is great! -- and it wasn't before long that he appeared with an itty bitty Godiva chocolate bag with little nibbles of chocolate. Of course, he offered me some and, as a good diet soldier does, I resisted.

"You realize I'm on a diet, right?" I asked him.  "You read my blog. And besides, I'm saving my bonus points for Hula Grill on Saturday night."

"But you're on vacation!" He countered.

Me on my "cheat night" at my favorite restaurant on Waikiki -- Hula Grill

Throughout the trip, he offered me everything from banana lumpia and cookies, to Egg Fu Young for breakfast and caramel corn. Oh, and malsadas, which is like a donut but with the hole. Malsadas, which is lighter and less dense than a regular donut, are fried and best eaten while hot. It wasn't hard to find Malsadas Trucks (and shrimp trucks) in Hawaii. I stayed away because I knew they were the enemy and I was battling the bulge.

We joked about how his trying to tempt me with fatty foods was good training for trying to wear down any insurgents he might meet while deployed in Iraq. By my fourth night there, and after two sweaty, one-hour sessions at his gym at the Army Base, I gave in. It was his last full night before deployment and he wanted to go to a Thai restaurant for dinner. This was the evening we had originally planned to barbecue fish and I was going to make my Weight Watchers 2-point-per-serving corn and goat cheese salad.

But, Thai food won out. I rationalized that he was going to be away from home for so long and that perhaps I was being a bit of a stick-in-the-mud over the diet thing. I ordered Pad Thai, my favorite, and figured that since my brother was leaving for Iraq the next day, perhaps it would give him some enjoyment. He managed to score a free, warm tapioca pudding when the waitress learned he was headed to Iraq. I waved my white flag, picked up my spoon and had some. It was delicous.

So, when he offered to make me a Pina Colada after we got home from the Thai restaurant, I said, "Sure."  For heaven's sake, he had even included a pineapple do you say no to that?!

It takes exactly four days to wear down an insurgent, I informed my brother.

When it came time for his wife and me to drop him off at midnight on my fifth day there, it was surreal. There's no doubt that, while he would miss Girlie very much, he was definitely ready and excited to go to Iraq. He felt that until he actually deployed that he wasn't a "real soldier." This was an important step for him and he had been training for it for more than two years.

I was proud of him. But, it was so sad to see all of the army wives there waiting to hug and kiss their husbands for the last times in at least six months. (They'll be deployed approximately a year, but can take a 2-week vacation beginning in six months). And to see all of the sons and daughters in their pajamas, who waited there with the rest of us until around 3:30 a.m. when the last soldier had boarded the last bus...heartbreaking, simply heartbreaking. There was a moment when all of the soldiers were lined up in formation and there was one little boy who was running around yelling, "Daddy, daddy, daddy" trying to find his daddy in a sea of camoflage.

As Girlie and I drove back to their home on the base at 3:30 a.m., I had a much greater awareness and appreciation for the sacrifices that our men and women in the military make. But perhaps more inspiring was the sacrifice made by the families that they leave behind.

Geoff and Girlie saying goodbye

And suddenly, enjoying tapioca pudding and a Pina Colada with my brother the evening before he left didn't seem so sinful.

So proud of my big brother!

I'm happy to report that even though I cheated a bit more than originally planned during my week's stay in Hawaii, I lost 2.5 pounds since my last blog post two weeks ago. This brings my total weight loss to 26.5 pounds. I have 13.5 pounds to go to meet my 40-pound weight loss goal by my 40th birthday on August 15th.

Pretty sure this is against the rules, but I am on a mission!

This is definitely going to be a nail-biter down to the finish, and I've begun working out every day this week to try to throw my body's metabolism into overdrive. And I can assure you, my muscles are sore!

Here's this week's pic.

Until next week,


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Having a great brother myself, I can't even imagine how you felt watching him leave.....I pray that God keeps him safe. Glad to hear you lost some more weight and had some fun!