Flying while Overweight
It’s the holiday season, which means there is a lot of travel going on. This used to cause me severe anxiety when I was at my heaviest because I felt like I could not travel to see my loved ones. Being almost 400 pounds, traveling was not my favorite thing to do. It might be a simple task for most people, but overweight individuals really struggle with the idea of traveling. There are many reasons why it can be stressful, but there are also things you can do to help you with your anxiety. After all, you should not let this be the reason you do not visit your family or friends during the holiday season.
By far the greatest anxiety when it comes to flying for many overweight individuals is whether or not they are going to fit into the airplane seat. I used to do so much research anytime I was about to travel to see if I could figure out the size of the seats. I would then test different chairs at home to see if I would be fine. I would not be able to relax for weeks before a trip because I would be so nervous. I never wanted to make a big deal about it on a flight and I especially never wanted to ask for a seatbelt extender. To be honest, I probably made things a lot worse for myself. However, I was so scared of the embarrassment. I just wanted to sink down into my seat and hopefully not get noticed. That was not always the case though. There were definitely times I traveled where the people I sat next to were not very nice. It really is a shame and I wish people could just be more compassionate for one another. Yes, I get it. Perhaps I am too close to them in the seat, but I wish they could realize how emotionally painful it is to make a scene. Sometimes I feel like it is just so hard for people to be kind. The best advice I can give you if you go through something like this is to just be the bigger person. Don’t let someone ruin your day simply because they are a hateful person. The good news is, sometimes flight attendants can move you to another seat and a lot of times there are empty seats next to it. Some people try to avoid this problem by just buying two seats ahead of time. Do what you are comfortable with but do NOT let someone make you feel unworthy simply because airplanes have the tiniest of seats.
Another reason you might have anxiety about traveling is if you recently had bariatric surgery. When you are fresh from surgery, it can be challenging being on the road. There really are not too many options for food in an airport for bariatric patients. I definitely recommend that you bring your own food with you when you can. You might not be able to bring liquids, but you should be able to bring other snacks. Also, I have heard that if you have a doctors note, you can actually get through security with approved liquids. So, do your research ahead of time and do not just suffer without knowing what you are allowed to take onto the plane with you. Another thing to remember is that you must get up and walk some on the flight if you just had surgery. You might be really uncomfortable on the flight so this will help you not be in too much pain and it will also help prevent blood clots. You must be responsible when you are flying as a bariatric patient to make sure you are taking care of yourself after surgery.
With the holiday season here, you might just want to stay home and not worry about flying due to your anxieties and fears. I really encourage you to push through that because it is not a place to be mentally. I know it can be hard as I have experienced it personally. However, it is so important that you live your life and spend time with people you love. Do not turn down the holiday season simply because you do not want to fly. Take a deep breath and do your best to push through your fears. Remember, this surgery is all about second chances. Do not waste this second chance by sitting at home in fear. There is so much life out there to be lived so get out there and experience it with the ones you love!
- Kimberly H.