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“I was in complete denial. I had been rationalizing my increasing wetsuit sizes to “wetsuit shrinkage.” Even all the money I was spending on larger and larger wetsuits had not deterred me. I hadn’t missed a meal for years. I was eating like I was on death row. I hit 4XL without breaking stride or eating stroke, and I still hadn’t faced the fact: I was gaining serious weight, and should have been seriously considering salads.
“Then it happened. I was unable to avoid the fact anymore. It was a typical day on the dive boat. We were going wreck diving off Catalina Island. The other divers and myself were going out for our second dive. On the first dive, we watched one of the dive masters, Bob, set the anchor and free it afterwards. We all noticed that Bob was kind of fat and out of shape. But he managed to accomplish his task, albeit with difficulty.
“Compounding my sneaking suspicion that I was gaining weight was when I was at the ship’s rail and someone spotted a whale and yelled “whale!” I took it personally.
“In fact, most divers seem to be kind of fat. When Bob donned his gear, he struggled to get his wetsuit on, making a joke that it must have shrunk during his layoff. Same joke I have been making lately. He hadn’t been diving for a while. He was completely winded, red-faced and out of breath by the time he got his gear in place. The wetsuit looked like he had been out-fitted at a sausage factory, or painted on. On the second dive, he struggled to get the anchor up, lost his grip, and shot to the surface. He barely made it. I made a mental note to take some more water aerobics, and get more exercise than pushing myself away from a table.
Scuba diving is a relaxing activity, maybe too relaxing, but you have to be in good health. You will realize that there are times when strenuous activity comes into play, so you will need levels of conditioning.”
By Michael McQueen