I know that it has been three months since our amazing trip to NYC, but I figured it was better late than never to make a post about it! It all started back in the beginning of summer or perhaps even the end of spring. Our Twitter account had caught the eye of none other than Joy Bauer, and she told us to apply for the Joy Fit Club. We applied but did not hear back for several months and assumed nothing more would come of it. At the beginning of September when we were finalizing our plans for a vacation to Daytona Beach and Orlando, Florida. Justin and I were so excited to be flying for the first time since losing so much weight and even more excited about riding the roller coasters that Justin had been forced off of due to his weight at a much earlier age. He and I decided to take a break from our planning and walk a few holes of golf. On about the 7th hole, I received a call with a New York City area code. I answered immediately, and a woman named Patricia (one of the producers of The Today Show) asked us to be on the Joy Fit Club segment. I was over the moon excited! The only problem was that she wanted to fly us up there on September 15, which is one day after we were going to fly down to Florida. They offered to pay the air fare and put us in a room completely free of charge. There was nothing to think about on our end, and we instantly agreed. That week Justin and I had to fill out a pretty lengthy questionnaire and also go to the local WBIR studio to record a voice-over to be played out when our before photos were being shown. The whole process was so much fun, and yet nothing quite felt real until we actually arrived!
The afternoon of Saturday, September 14, my parents dropped us off at the local airport. We waited for about an hour and got on the plane headed for Daytona Beach. I let Justin sit in the window seat because he had never flown before. The buckles of the seat-belts snapped no problem with plenty of room to spare! That was such a great feeling because several years before the seatbelt would not buckle, and I was absolutely mortified. I tried to stuff the end on the side of my leg and put a magazine over it so that the flight attendant would not notice. Luckily she didn’t. Once we arrive we rented a car and drove for about an hour. We got to the beach house where Justin’s parents were waiting at about 7 or 8 that evening. The next morning we had to get up at the crack of dawn, eat breakfast, and head to the Orlando Airport. This is one of the largest airports I have ever been to let alone seen! There was an entire hotel in the front lobby for goodness sake. It was so impressive. Justin and I even had to take a tram to the Delta Airline portal which was exciting as well. We bought some raw almonds in the airport once past security, and bought waters on the plane. I did partake in the free pretzels (okay a shortbread cookie as well) on the flight. The flight seemed to drag on forever because we could just not wait to touch down in New York.
The aerial view of the gigantic buildings as our plane was flying over was unforgettable! As the wheels touched down, I was already unbuckled and ready to run through the aisles and out of the door into the airport. We, of course, had to wait for a few minutes. We flew into LaGuardia airport which was really nice as well. Instead of having to pay for a cab, The Today Show paid for a driver to come and meet us. A man in a suit held up a sign that said “Justin and Lauren Shelton” on it. He walked us out to a black Lincoln Navigator, and we hopped in. I kept my windows down the entire time so that I could take about a million photos!
There were yellow cabs everywhere and more restaurants as well as buildings than we could have even imagined! As soon we we arrived at the hotel I practically ran through the halls excited about what our hotel room would look like. It was located right across from the Radio City building and sign. One thing you may not know about me is that I love traveling and staying in hotel rooms (especially if it is completely free)! Even more than that I love free stuff in general. I could not wait to smell the shampoos and stuff them into my bag. The room had a modern decor with an overlook of some really tall building.
Instead of planning all of these touristy events, we decided to just walk around Manhattan and take it all in (especially since we were only going to be there for literally 24 hours). Before doing anything else, Justin and I decided to try and find Rockefeller plaza. I had my own kind of directions, so we basically went around in circles for three hours. Once we tried Justin’s way, we realized we had been five minutes away the entire time and that perhaps I should follow his lead next time. After exploring and trying some classic “New York” things like a hot dog from a hot dog stand (that was all me-Justin had much better willpower than me that day) we headed back to the room to get ready for dinner. There were literally thousands of options, but we ended up going with Bar Americain by Bobby Flay. It had great reviews and was pretty close by. Needless to say, we had a CHEAT meal. Well, I pretty much had an entire cheat day, but hey how many times will I ever be in NYC? It may never happen again, who knows, so I indulged big time. At dinner we did not deny ourselves anything. I had the duck confit and Justin had a pork chop. The dessert selected was a deep dish chocolate cream pie.
After pushing our stomachs to the limit, my husband and I walked around Times Square. Words cannot describe how amazing everything looks in person especially at night! Then we stopped by a little store, picked up protein bars as well as strawberries for breakfast, and decided we should get some rest because we had to be up early and dressed for The Today Show.
The next morning we woke up extremely early, and it was raining. Justin went and bought us some umbrellas after getting dressed. Then we headed over to the studio. I felt so important with so many people crowded around the windows and gates watching us as we were cleared to walk past security. Upon arrival an assistant told us to go to the “Green Room” which is actually orange in the new building. In there was a clothes designer, and Carson Daly sat a few feet away from us which was pretty cool. Then Nene Leaks as well as her husband came in. My husband and I do not watch any of the Real Housewives shows, but I easily recognized her. The husband was really friendly and briefly spoke with us. A real star-gazing moment for me, as well as my husband, was when Justin and I saw Giada De Laurentis. She by the room talking to a couple of people. She waved at Justin, but I had my back turned to her. Justin also saw Bobby Flaw walking by the room. Next we were moved to the hair and makeup section downstairs. I have never had a professional makeup and was just as excited about this as much as anything else! Justin was finished being touched up in less than 10 minutes, so he had to sit out in the waiting area. He sat right next to James Blunt! After hair and makeup was finished we briefly went over what was going to happen with the Producer of The Joy Fit Club and Joy Bauer. They were both really nice, and Joy has such a fun and bubbly personality. It is amazing that someone so beautiful and well-known can be that humble and personable!
We then received a tour through the building not because we asked but because we had to walk through several rooms and floors to get where we needed to go. We got to see the kitchen wherer we stopped as Joy explained and showed our before and after meals. Instead of being in the new studio we were bumped to the upstairs area because of the unfortunate military school shooting that day. Our segment was also cut a little shorter because of that which we completely understood because that was such a sad event that needed coverage. As we were in the upstairs green room, Al Roker walked through and said hello to Justin and I. I missed that completely because I was staring at the door that would lead us out onto TV. My nerves hit me a couple of minutes before whereas Justin’s did not hit until right before they were motioning for us to head out with Kathy Lee and Hoda. The nerves left our bodies as soon as we stood in place because, for some reason, we felt comfortable. Kathy Lee and Hoda were shocked at how we looked and were really impressed with our weight loss story. Hoda put her hand on Justin’s shoulder as she spoke with him, and Kathy Lee kept calling us Barbie and Ken before and after the segment. Justin and I spoke about our journey as well as how much we mean to each other. Then in a blink of an eye, it was over. They hugged us and could not have been more friendly (or hilarious by the way)! Afterwards Joy took some photos with us and even suggested we make some fun ones. What amazing women we met that day!
After that we had to rush downstairs to get our belongings and meet with the driver so that we wouldn’t miss our flight. Joy offered to send us somewhere fun for lunch, but unfortunately our flight was just a little over an hour away, and so we had to decline. Our driver took us to the Newark airport. Justin nor I had ever been to New Jersey. I took several photos there as well. All in all we visited 4 different airports in just 3 days! It was hectic, and yet I think I could go back and redo that whole experience over and over again. Justin and I are so grateful for the entire experience that The Today Show gave us. Patricia, Kathy Lee, Hoda, and Joy were all so kind and supportive of our entire journey. Another thing that my husband and I really appreciated was that not one person was condescending about our weight loss. No one said, “Oh, I bet you feel so much better NOW,” or, “How did you even function at that high of a weight?” Surprisingly,people do this a lot. It is almost as if someone wants to give you a compliment but take you down a notch at the same time. Anyways, moving on, everyone treated us like normal human beings there which was much appreciated. The Today Show, as well as NYC, was so amazing, and I hope that we get to visit again one day!
Almost everyone who has ever been overweight has more than likely experienced first-hand the dreaded “walk of shame” experience on some sort of amusement park ride. The “walk of shame” is basically being forced off of a ride, plane, bus, or etc. because of your weight while everyone stops to stare at you. For me one instance really sticks out in my mind. I was 16 years old and on a road trip with my family going through Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana. Whilst in Lafayette, there was a local county fair. The friends who were travelling with me were as excited as I was. We all got in line for a ride where you stand and are spun around very quickly. My friends buckled in and waited. First of all, I was short and had to have help stepping up into the compartment for the ride. Next, I had to have help buckling it. He kept slamming it down as hard as he could, but to no avail. The man was very nice about it, but told me I would just have to get off of the ride because the harness would not close. I was so embarrassed and had to walk away while everyone was standing and staring at me.
Justin had a similar experience when he was 14 years old. He was vacationing with his family in Florida, and his parents let he and his sister choose which amusement park in Orlando they would like to visit. They picked Universal Studios. He was so excited about The Hulk roller coaster ride and talked about it days before hand and whilst riding in the car for several hours on the way to the park. As soon as they arrived, Justin wanted to ride The Hulk first before he did anything else. He waited in line for what seemed like an eternity and finally was able to sit down in the seats. He had to have someone come over and pull the harness down over his chest because he could not get it to snap into place. After a couple of minutes and maneuvering, the worker told Justin that he would have to get off of the ride. Devastated and embarrassed he did “the walk of shame.” The rest of the trip just didn’t seem the same after that.
After all of the weight loss, Justin and I decided to venture back to Orlando Florida back in September with his parents. First of all, neither of us had even been on an airplane since losing so much weight, so that was exciting enough! Secondly, he and I could not to go on all of the thrill rides. Once arriving at Universal Studios’ Island of Adventures theme park, he and I briskly walked straight to The Hulk and waited to ride in the very front. There was only a short wait, and then we were able to sit down in the seats. Justin’s harness came down with no trouble and snapped into place with plenty of room to spare. In fact, he was able to snap it down to the very last notch. The ride took off quite slow, and then suddenly we were bolted into the air at what felt like warp speed. The ear-to-ear grin on his face was priceless. As we swooshed upward and downward for a couple of minutes, that smile never left his face. Tears almost strolled down my face. To me that was one of the best parts of our many adventures while in Florida because he was able to finally overcome something that had been so hard on him years before. Days like that is the main reason that losing all of that weight feels so satisfying, and we will never allow ourselves to experience the “walk of shame” again!
After that we went on every single ride in both amusement parks that were fore adults and thoroughly enjoyed each one! We have also visited Dollywood, a local amusement park, and rode each roller coaster 3 times each! This December, we plan on buying season passes so that we can go several times throughout the year. Losing this weight has allowed us to do so many things that we were unable to for so many years. In addition to that, our sense of thrill seeking and adventure has also pushed us to try new and different things as well that we were always too scared to try when overweight. Stay tuned soon for a blog about our New York experience! I apologize for the delay in posts, but we have been very busy.
Here is a link to our interview with the New York Minute Magazine: http://newyorkminutemag.com/weight-loss-story/
If you missed our XM Radio Interview on The Doctor Radio (Channel 81) this morning from 8 AM to 8:30 AM, it will rebroadcast tonight at 8 PM EST and again at 2 AM tomorrow morning!
Here is our interview with another blog. Dr. Siota Belle’s article about us: http://
Mike Campbell is a 57 year old man who lost 150 pounds in 363 days and has kept it off for years. We have connected some over the past few months and were finally able to set up a video chat and speak for a while. What he has done is astonishing, and he is an amazing person. Feel free to check out his website: http://fatguydiary.com/
Here is a link to our interview with WATE (taped at our house last night!). http://www.wate.com/story/23701189/jefferson-city-couple-shares-weight-loss-story It was such an amazing experience. Mona, the reporter, could not have been nicer. Some people can be quite condescending especially when discussing our old weights. However, she was not. She treated us like any other normal human being and was an absolute delight. A big thank you to everyone at WATE who we worked with. Justin and I both really appreciate this amazing opportunity that has been given to us. We hope to share our story with the world in order to help those that are in the situation we used to know oh so well. It all happened so fast! We were contacted via email, Facebook, and Twitter by WATE and asked to do an interview that day. They came over at 7:30 PM last night and recorded the interview then aired it at 11PM, 4:30 AM, and 5 AM. Again, thank you for such an opportunity.
Here is our interview with CNN: