The Island 15

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.”

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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.

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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?

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Eliza Stone

About Eliza Stone

When life gives you a plane ticket to a tropical paradise... you don't ask questions, you just pack your bikini, and go! And that is exactly what she did! Eliza enjoys sunrises, starry nights, sandy toes, sun salutations, wind blown hair, gas station sunglasses, and Montes Chardonnay accompanied by ice cubes and her island girlfranz. And no, this is not an e-Harmony ad. This island gal recently tied the knot to her long time sweetheart under a sea grape tree and they have both fallen in love with the quirky island of St. Croix. So much so, that they are planting some roots and purchasing their first island bungalow. They adopted a coconut retriever in the states who joined them on this adventure to the unknown. Their plan... unknown. Tomorrow... unknown. But isn't that the beauty of life? Cheers to the surprises, adventures, and challenges of this crazy beautiful [rock] life!

CURRENT ROCK OF RESIDENCE: St. Croix, USVI

ISLAND GIRL SINCE: May 2014

ORIGINALLY HAILS FROM: Florida

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9 thoughts on “The Island 15

  1. Truer words were never spoken! We thought we would lose weight when we moved to an island. We pictured daily exercise in the fresh air and a steady diet of fresh fish and fruit. Boy were we wrong! I’ve been trying to get my Saba 15 off since March. It has been hard…especially when there is a party/gathering of some kind nearly every single night! The struggle is real, but you’re not alone! 🙂 Thanks for the article 🙂

  2. Extra layer of happiness, is that what you call that? I thought the same thing, I will all kinds of time to get out and exercise! Well, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way and I find myself struggling to fit into what little clothes I have. But it’s so much more fun to go to the beach or have some drinks with friends so the struggle is real.
    On another note, we will be sailing to STX from STT on Monday and staying in the Christiansted harbor. Is there anything we must do??

  3. This made me laugh! I totally agree! I think the extra pounds sneak up on you because you seldom wear jeans! Every now and then I put my jeans on, not because I’m actually going to wear them in 80 degree heat, but to guage where my “extra layers of happiness” have settled!

  4. I love this! Fellow Ironman athelete here! I signed up for the September Atlantic City 70.3 last year, before I moved down to STX. My training quickly went downhill. I finished the race but had the worst time of my life! lol.

  5. You don’t even need to buy new jeans. Just buy a two inch wide really fancy ribbon, split your jeans all the way down along each side, and sew the ribbon into the split, preferably with a machine zigzag stitch for security. (Or even get one of the many island tailors to do it for you.) Give them a special name (like “Sun Island Pants”) and wear them with pride. With the right attitude, everyone will soon be following in your footsteps. It is TOO HOT for tight jeans.

  6. Although none of my freshman year in 1959 was like yours ( at Stanford girls could not go out after midnight to get a midnight snack; we did nt have refrigerators in our rooms and almost no one owned a car. Maybe because we walked or biked miles to each class, we did not gain weight. I see that times have changed!

    Nevertheless, I learned early in my island life to own a scale and step on it once a day. very helpful. I also learned that even a leisurely hour daily walk helps. Otherwise, siting on a beach, in a boat, snorkeling slowly in the sea, each perfect activity adds fat and too much fat is not good ( nor is too little!).

    So, thanks for the reminder that we need to keep our bodies as lovely as our islands!

  7. Great memories there. Back in the day forme, I was one that could eat all I wanted and never gain a pound, but needed to. Currently, not my problem! I had already gained weight before moving to our rock due to thyroid issues. My weight has been up and down, more up and forget iron man. With thyroid issues, I’m much more laid back than I would like, so walks are good for me when time and motivation allows. I did recently loose over 20 lbs with dietary changes, but that wine has stayed a part of my life

  8. Hi All! I just figured out how to respond as Eliza Stone on WWLOR, so I am so sorry for not responding earlier. This is my first WWLOR post and I am just learning the ropes. 🙂 Dawn Wheeler, I am so sorry I didn’t get back to you on your note that you would be in St. Croix. I hope you had a lovely time and if you return i’d love to meet up! Thank you all for your love and comments! MUAH xxx

  9. HA! Brilliant!! I swear you have written pretty much word for word my current state of mind and body! Love that I have Chunky island soulmates out there who, when considering whether to climb onto the exercise bike or into the hot tub with a chilled glass of vino, choose wisely! Cheers to the wine bellies and happy hearts! 🙂

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