Written by: Eliza Stone
Ahhh… The Island 15.
What is it, you ask? Do you remember that first semester in college where you completely let go, ate whatever you wanted (chicken flavored Top Ramen noodles anyone?), had the late night munchies (thanks to everyone’s sweetest friend, Mary Jane), and could drink a 12-pack of Budweiser? Remember how it led to a food baby pooch, tight jeans, swollen cheeks (yes, my face swelled like I was stung by 1,000 bees), and you knew you had officially gained the inevitable Freshman 15 everyone warned you about? Well, your first year (or two) transitioning into island life can be a lot like those early college years. Hence, “The Island 15.”
Recently, I found myself trying to squeeze into my pre-island life jeans. I hadn’t really noticed the extra layer of happiness I had managed to add around my belly and thighs until my once-loose jeans couldn’t make it past my saddle bags without doing the wiggle, bend, and stretch. Once I finally buttoned and zipped them up, I had a hard time breathing and looked down with resignation to see my wine belly hanging over the waist band. Touché island life, touché!
I don’t know about you, but when my move to the islands was still in the dreaming stage, I imagined I’d surely be in the best physical shape of my life, what with the year round sunshine, lack of snow, and minimal rain. Before I moved here, I envisioned myself swimming, running, and preparing every day for the annual Iron Man race. I had imagined that I would be some hot island babe with a smokin’ bronzed bod, sun-drenched “sex hair”, and at least a four pack. Girrrrrrrrl, was I wrong! Now, my preparation for the Iron Man involves setting up a Bloody Mary bar at a tail gate party to gawk at the oh-so-physical humans who flew here to torture themselves. How did I get to this point without even noticing? I wondered.
The problem, I found, was that I had basically started to enjoy life! My “workouts” had become curling Coronas, johnny cake eating competitions, deep belly laughs, uncontrollable dancing to live bands (Ziggy’s Bigfoot is my fav!), and leisurely strolling on sandy beaches (very leisurely… think: sitting and sipping something fruity with a girlfriend while admiring the windsurfers who are actually doing a workout). In moving to an island, I surprisingly found that my perspective on life had shifted – now, I would rather spend my time building memories than building muscles.
Take yesterday, for example: I had planned on running (because I was now determined to shed the Island 15 I had gained over my 2.5 year stint on island), but then there was a celebration to be had. And if you are an island girl too, you know how we like to celebrate… every damn thing! It is just a way of the islands – any excuse to have a party, pop bubbles, and EAT! So while I desperately wanted to fit back into my pre-island jeans and slender my tree-trunk legs (a “compliment” I received from a Crucian man, which will make for another great story for another day…), I also desperately wanted to celebrate. There I was, stuffing my face with creamy lobster mac n’ cheese topped with bacon, sipping on a bottle of wine (yes, the entire bottle plus two glasses of champagne), and enjoying every drop of LIFE. Did I regret missing my run at this point? Hell, no!
My pants may be a bit tighter and my eyes may be bit heavier in the mornings sometimes, but my heart is definitely fuller.
So cheers to my fellow island girls rockin’ the thunder thighs, muffin tops, and happy hearts! Let’s continue celebrating, shall we?