NYC Wrap Up & Brooklyn Bridge Walk

The past few days have been confirmation that having weight loss surgery (RNY gastric bypass, June 2006) was the best gift I ever gave myself. It was a weekend full of WOW moments!

On Thursday I left a still dark Southern California and flew on a non-stop flight to New York City to attend "Obesity Online" a blogging/social media conference hosted by Etho-Endicon Surgery. Travel and hotel was provided for by EES. Sweet. Here's a picture of all the attendees. Click on the pic to get a closer look.

The first of many WOW's was packing 3 days worth of clothes into a CARRY-ON bag. Pre-weight loss surgery, clothing took up a lot more room and carry-on was just not an option... and of course there was always the fear that the big bag I had to check wouldn't get to my final destination in time. It wasn't like at my tight size 28 I could just run to the nearest clothing store and get something off the rack. I'd have to find the nearest Lane Bryant. If they had one in the town. My heart races just thinking about it.

Now I still hate to fly but it sure makes it better packing lighter, not having to ask for a seatbelt extender, being able to order a drink because my tray table can come down and not have to "hold it" because I can't fit in the restroom. I remember.

Got to JFK with my one carry-on bag and was picked up by a driver and taken to the Mondrian Hotel in the Soho area. It's a chic, French-movie inspired hotel... fancy-shmancy and very blue.

I spotted a few pals in the hotel lobby and after some hugs, hellos and introductions to new friends. I went upstairs to my room to change for a Welcome Reception at Mister H's, the hotel's lounge. At the reception I finally ate my first real food of the day. I left without breakfast and just had some nuts and CLICK while on the plane. They served some super yummy weight loss surgery friendly tidbits. Two of my favs were a seared scallop with a killer tomato chutney and Ahi tuna with a lime vinaigrette I plan on trying to recreate them. After the reception, a few of us, walked to Little Italy and had dinner. I had an antipasto platter with lots of yummy cheeses and meats (delicious, well what I could eat of it) and a meatball (not impressed at all)

The next morning after a much needed Starbucks run I head to the conference room for the event. The CEO/President of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), Joe Nadglowski, Dr. Robin Blackstone, MD and President-Elect of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), Jeff LaConte and David Shaffer from Etho-Endicon Surgery and Pam Davis, Bariatric Program Director at Centennial Medical Center presented a ton of great information. They'll be lots more posts coming about the info I learned. If you aren't already a member of the OAC, I'd like to highly encourage you to join. They are some of the only advocates in Washington DC and across the US giving a voice to those affected by obesity... plus you get a great newsy magazine. Do it.

Back to the day. Lunch was served. Here's what I ate...

The rest of the afternoon was pretty much dedicated to a presentation on social media and blogging. The event ended and we said goodbye to a few pals. A few of us had chosen to stay an extra day. There was no way I could do a long cross country flight after a full day... waaaaaay too much sitting. I think my assbone would have needed surgical repair. We gathered in the evening and after much debate we ended up eating at a nearby French Bistro. I had a yummy mushroom and goat cheese omelet with a salad. We head back to the hotel and I called it a night around midnight because I had my big Brooklyn Bridge walk planned for 9 AM.

I got up bright and early Saturday morning and flipped on the Weather Channel and was happy to hear that the predicted rain was going to hold out till the afternoon. Got ready and met up with a few fellow bridge walking pals for pre-walk Starbuck's run. We met most of our walking group in the lobby of the hotel and cabbed it to the bridge, was going to walk to the bridge but it was pretty windy and cold, so we thought better of it. We met a few more pals at the bridge and began our walk!

You guys know I was just in NYC last year for the Progresso Soup Makeover so I did a lot of touristy things on my list with my Mum then and I was born & raised on Long Island so there isn't a museum or attraction I haven't been to at least once. When I found out I was going back to NYC for the "Obesity Online" event and would have a day to explore I immediately thought about walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.

While watching the news coverage during 9/11. I remember listening to Charles Gibson on Good Morning America reporting that people who worked in the towers were having to evacuate the building, some people were having to walk down 86+ flights of stairs, trudging down floor after floor, in single file, having to squeeze past firefighters in full uniform carrying hoses and emergency equipment on their way up to help those on upper floors. He said with no cabs, subways, or buses running to the area the workers were forced to walk home across the Brooklyn Bridge. I remember thinking... I can't walk the length of the mall without needing several breaks, there is NO WAY I could do that at this weight. It took 5 more years till I had weight loss surgery but the horrific events of that day and that news report was definitely was a major factor in my decision to change my life.

So I walked the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend because... I CAN!

I'm thankful for the pals that braved the wind and cold (official temp was 44° F) to keep me company on the walk and celebrate this AWESOME post weight loss surgery WOW MOMENT with me.

Adele, Andrea, Kaitlin, Teresa, Rachel, Haley, my two favorite Beth's and our trusty photographer Lance (not pictured, Adele's husband) Love you guys xo

It was a great weekend and I have tons more pictures to share. I'll post them throughout the week.