What’s Your Favorite Brand for Sneakers?

I’m doing my first official 5k race in a few weeks. I’ve walked many 5k’s, but I’ve never received a metal at the end of it. I don’t mind walking, but the idea of paying money to wake up early on the weekend to exercise in the heat has never really appealed to me. Ha

When my boyfriend asked me to do it I said yes without hesitation. I’ve always dreamed of being with a kind, loving man who will show up for races with me, and now I have that. My guess is that he’ll run the race, then wait for me at the finish line. I don’t want to slow him down, but I’ll be happy to see him waiting for me when I finish.

I’ve wanted to do this race every year since moving to New Orleans. Most of the cool races happen in my neighborhood, so it’s convenient, but this one is always appealing because it ends on the 50-yard line inside the Superdome.

I’ve been to Saints games, of course, but there’s something about jogging through the tunnels and onto the finish line, where I’ll receive a metal, that excites me. (What can I say? I have a flair for the dramatic.)

I’m looking forward to walking the race even though it’s going to take me over an hour to finish it. The timing doesn’t matter to me. I just love any opportunity to remind myself that I can do cool things.

I’ve been walking a lot over the last week or so. (Thank you, Pokemon Go!) And I realized even before walking all over town chasing Pokemons that I need new sneakers…badly.

Over the last few years I’ve moved away from Nike to New Balance, Asics, then Brooks. I loved the Asics so much that I wore a hole in one. I’m not particularly fond of New Balance, but the Brooks weren’t bad. I’m just not sure which brand I’ll choose now.

Do you have a favorite, go-to brand for sneakers? If so, which one?

 

Gastric Sleeve Update: Psych Exam, Exercise and Processing My Feelings On All of It

I completed my psychological evaluation for surgical clearance today, and now all of the testing is complete. I’m seeing my doctor on Tuesday, at which point she will have to send in some additional paperwork. If all goes well I’ll be able to schedule a surgery date soon.

If I need to wait until after September to have it, which is a very real possibility, then I’ll plan to do it in January. Either way, I’m ready to know the timeline because I’m tired of thinking about it, talking about it, wondering about it, etc.

I’m also actively trying to shift my focus from my impending surgery because I’m tired of hearing everyone’s opinion about it. I know that I invited the opinions of others the moment I shared the news that I was exploring the process, and I did that for specific reasons.

Weight Loss Surgery is a big deal, and I didn’t want to hide the fact that I’m doing it. I don’t want it o be a secret; I just want people to understand that just because I’m not terrified doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the risks, the difficulty of the post-surgery and the potential for life-altering changes. I do appreciate the support, encouragement and testimonials I’ve heard from many of you, so keep those coming!

If my doctor thinks I should wait a few months to do it I’ll do that. If my doctor and the surgeon give me the go ahead I’ll do that. After a week or so of eating junk that I don’t usually eat (since I wasn’t sure when I’d get to do it again) t’m at peace about the process. It’s ridiculous to think that I ate doughnuts twice last week after eating only once or twice all year simply because of the impending changes. Thankfully, I kicked my own butt back into reality,  and I’m prepared to do whatever my doctor suggests because I want to set myself up to experience the utmost success.

My skin no longer hurts so much that it keeps me from exercising, sweating or moving. It was a rough period of about 7 weeks total, but for the last 7 or 8 days I’ve felt 99% okay. I’m still reminded of the areas that aren’t healed, but sitting down, standing up and stepping into the shower no longer brings me to tears like it did.

I’m preparing for a 5k that I’m doing with my boyfriend and friends on September 10th, so right now my focus is on cardio, cardio, cardio. They’ll all finish in under half an hour, but it’ll take me about 67 minutes. I’m okay with that because they’ll be waiting for me on the field inside the Superdome, where the race ends.

I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do, and now I have to wait. I’m more patient than most would expect, and I sincerely do want to do what my doctors think is best. Time flies, so I’m going to enjoy the next few days, weeks and months. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where my health is a year from now.

Until then…

Flooding, Devastation and A Chance To Help

The weather has been stormy for days, but thankfully, I’m safe and dry at home. We didn’t experience the flooding that Baton Rouge did, but some people I love lost everything.

One friend, moved into a house that she bought about a month ago, had water up to there waist inside her house yesterday. And do you know what she did? She left her things, got into a boat and helped rescue families in her neighborhood who were stuck in their attics.

Baton Rouge and its surrounding area has seen some rough times recently, but right now, we’re also seeing love and support coming from people all over. It’s awesome.

My church plans to head over to help clean up as soon as the roads open (tomorrow morning,) so Michael and I are going to make lunches to bring over. It’s not much, but every little bit of food, clothing, sweat and elbow grease will help right now.

I don’t have loads of money just sitting around, but I do know a lot of people. My hope is that together we can make a difference.

I’ve been writing here for over 7 years, and I’ve only solicited donations for one other cause that was close to my heart. I know that there are catastrophes happening around the world, and I know that we can’t fix everything. I also know that little steps produce big results.

My church is raising money to help in the recovery efforts of our church family and families in the Baton Rouge area that we may never even know. 100% of the proceeds they collects are going straight to the victims of the flooding disaster.

If you’re reading this I’m asking you to consider donating $1 or $10, or $100. Every dollar will make a difference, and together, we can help people who are hurting.

Just go to the link, enter the amount you want to done and click on serve: https://nolachurch.churchcenteronline.com/giving/to/offering 

My heart goes out to the people hurt by this devastation. We need to pray, but we also need to take action. If you donate, regardless of the amount, I’d like to know about it. Please leave a comment or send me an email, so I can thank you.

Thank you for supporting my efforts and for continually encouraging me on my journey. If you can’t afford to give, please keep these families in your prayers. If you can spare a few bucks, you’ll receive my heartfelt gratitude.

Regardless, I’m so thankful that the water is starting to recede and for the hope that’s on the horizon.

 

Surgery Progress, Allergy Testing and Sleep

I saw my doctor again yesterday, and I got some great news regarding the next step on my journey toward weight-loss surgery. I’m excited about it, but right now I’m still processing through my thoughts, faxing the paperwork and trying not to let it consume my thoughts.

I also asked to take an allergy test in the hopes that maybe we’d discover the cause of my skin issues. (I knew it was cellulitis, but I asked anyway just to be sure.) I was tested for all kinds of things, and I wasn’t allergic to any of them. My skin feels much better right now than it has in weeks, but I look forward to the day when that pain is a distant memory.

I’ve wondered whether or not I was allergic to soy for years, and I learned that I’m not allergic to that either. The protein powder that I use does not contain soy, but the powder that my boyfriend is currently using does contain soy. They’re both delicious, but his is a little smoother. He has more flavor options too. I’m still hesitant to consume soy on a regular basis, though I can’t explain why.

Now it’s time to get some sleep. Thursday is typically the last official day of my work week, and this week I’m ready to get it done. It’s also weigh-in day for me at Weight Watchers.

The week has flown by so far, but I’m looking forward to having some fun with my mom and Michael over the weekend. I’ve been waking up before 5 am all week, and I’ll continue for the next two weeks as well. Thankfully, I feel pretty rested. I’m just striving to be in bed by 10 pm instead of midnight.

On that note, good night.  Until next time…Zzzzz……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Update #2

The last 30 hours have been overwhelming in some ways, and I feel so grateful for the support I have in my life. Seriously, God knew exactly what He was doing when He put Michael in my life.

I spoke to the surgeon’s office on Tuesday, and when she heard my story (the weight portion) she encouraged me to complete all of the necessary testing and to see my doctor again sooner than I had planned. She was happy to hear that I’m already a Weight Watchers member and suggested that I speak to my doctor about my food and exercise journey.

cardiologistAfter that conversation, which was encouraging and productive, I made an appointment with a cardiologist and saw her yesterday. My heart is healthy, so my cardiologist ran a few necessary tests and cleared me for the surgery. I still have a couple of remaining steps, and the next big one is coming up on Tuesday of next week.

Tuesday night I experienced a little fear and anxiety over the surgery itself and the aftermath. Everyone tells me it’s the best decision they’ve ever made; they also tell me that it changes everything.

The truth is I definitely want and need to lose weight, but I don’t want it to change everything. I love my life, my family, my boyfriend, my church, my job, my friends, etc. I’m happier than I’ve ever been before, and while I recognize that surgery will make me healthier, I momentarily panicked when I considered the words of people who’ve already experienced it.

Ultimately, I realize that everyone’s journey is different. Maybe their lives needed to change. The fact is that mine started changing drastically about four years ago, and I’m happier and more settled than I ever imagined I would be.

Life is good. It’s not always perfect or easy, but it’s good. I’m so thankful for that, and as I reflected on how many positive changes have happened over the last several years my fear was replaced by faith. My boyfriend, who hugged me and quietly prayed for me, reminded me that God has a plan for  my life, and He’s always faithful.

Now I can rest easily, once again, knowing that I only have to take one step at a time, and I’m thankful for that too.

 

Hydro Flask, Yeti and Ozark Trails

I drink a lot of water, and I should probably drink more now that we’re in the hottest part of Summer in New Orleans. The heat slaps me when I walk outside, so I never go too far without my Hydro Flask. I love it!

Hydro FlaskIt’s pink, it holds 32 oz of water, and it keeps water cold for 24 hours. What’s not to love about it? It doesn’t fit into my car’s cup holder, but the tight lid keeps me from worrying about that. It also fits into the cup holder on the elliptical at my home gym, so I’m a big fan.

I don’t put anything in my Hydro Flask except water. I used it for iced tea once recently, and it just felt wrong. No matter what I’m eating or drinking water is still my go-to, and that’s the only thing you’ll find in this bottle.

Nearly 8 years later I still don’t drink soft drinks. I like sparkling water (plain, unflavored and extra bubbly is my favorite,) but I also drink tea and coffee. I’m obsessed with protein shakes right now too, and I love drinking them on-the-go. Of course, when I learned about the Yeti last year I wanted one, but I didn’t get one until my friend, Ann, gave me a gift last week.

Yeti TumblerI got the Yeti 30 oz Rambler on Thursday, and I love it! Later that day the order I placed for a 30 oz Ozark Trails tumbler arrived. The Yeti, which I bought at Academy, was $39.99. (Thank you, Ann!) And I love it!

The Ozark Trails 30 oz tumbler that I purchased from Walmart was $9.74. They look identical, apart from their logos. I decided to keep them both, so I gave the Ozark Trail to Michael after doing a little side-by-side test. (He wouldn’t use the Yeti anyway.) They both hold ice for hours, and they fit in out car’s cup holders.

They both do the job they claim to do, and I can’t see any reason to spend $40 on the Yeti (unless a friend gives you a gift and demands you to get the Yeti. hehe) I haven’t tried anything hot in my Yeti yet, but I doubt I will while it’s over 100 degrees everyday.

The Yeti Rambler is awesome, and the Ozark Trail tumbler seems to be equally awesome. Neither of them compare to the Hydro Flask though. It’s not even close. My water stays ice cold in the mid-afternoon heat of Summer while it stayed cool in the Yeti, but they’re made for different things.

It’s easier to carry my water bottle to the gym, but it’s easier to keep my protein shake ice cold in the steel tumbler. There’s no way I’d put a shake in my Hydro Flask.

Do you own any of these products? If so, which one is your favorite?

Skin Issues, Sleep Apnea Results and Moving Forward

I haven’t exercised in over three weeks until today. My skin irritation still isn’t 100% better, but I took prescriptions for 10 days, saw the doctor again and decided that I felt well enough to get back to normal.

Unfortunately, my skin issues aren’t going away unless I leave New Orleans and/or lose a significant amount of weight. It’s hard to lose weight when it hurts to move, but the wounds are improving. I’m not leaving New Orleans any time soon, so I’m striving to make use of the gym again. (It’s pretty convenient since my office is a 20 second walk to the gym and even in the same building.) This darn skin issue has just been winning lately – until today.

Kenlie YMCA

Several of you have left comments and sent messages regarding my  skin issues, and I appreciate the advice and encouragement. I haven’t really explained what’s causing the pain because it’s gross, but I’m going to explain it now. I have cellulitis, and there are a couple of small, very painful spots that are fighting not to become infected. They’re open, and there’s no way to keep them dry. It’s just not possible, and as a result I feel pain when I lift my right leg to walk, sit in the car, stand up, lie down, etc. It’s not fun, but it’s considerably better than it was a week ago.

This week my goal is to do cardio at least three times. That doesn’t seem like much, but if you saw my skin you’d be surprised that I’m doing that. Today I did some floor exercises and played around with weights (perks of working at the YMCA,) and I felt pretty good about it.

IMG_3013I decided I’d try to do a plank too even though that’s hard for me because I knew doing it would inspire me to work harder, and it did. If you want to watch me go from cool and relaxed to sweaty and a little cocky just watch me do a plank. I can’t do it for long, but it’s something that I’m going to start working to improve again.

Riding a bicycle is out for now, and I’m still a day or two away from dance cardio. I felt pretty good about strength exercises like planks, squats and weights.

I’m not sure when I’ll feel 100% again, but it definitely felt good to fumble around in the gym today. I was reminded that I’m stronger than I remembered, and I’m also capable of doing a lot more than I’ve been doing. (Yeah, it hurts. It legitimately hurts, and I needed to take some time to heal.) It also feels good to start fresh.

I had some encouraging news today as well. I do not have sleep apnea! I’m pretty sure my doctor’s office was surprised, but I was fairly confident that I was fine because I typically sleep well. It’s a relief to know that sleep apnea isn’t something I have to worry about because I had no plans to use a CPAP machine even if they told me I’d need one. Whew!

I’ll head back to the doctor in a few weeks to check in, and as overwhelming as it is to think about spending so much time being poked and prodded over the next several months, I’m thankful that I’m getting my health in order again. I’m even more thankful that, overall, I’m okay. My health could certainly be much worse, and I realize how lucky I still have time to make positive changes.

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Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Day One

The process to be approved for weight-loss surgery is not short, but if the end result leads me to incredible health benefits it’ll be worth it. It’s slightly less overwhelming now that I’ve spoken to my doctor about everything I need to do in preparation, but it’s going to be a long road.

The surgeon sent me a checklist that must be completed before I can be approved, and the process has begun:

  • Clearance from Cardiologist with a recent EKG – I had an EKG a few weeks ago, and it came back normal. Whew! I still have to see a cardiologist though, which means I have to find one soon.
  • Psychological Evaluation – I’m in the healthiest place I’ve ever been in my heart and mind, so that doesn’t seem like a big deal. I just need to schedule an appointment.
  • Pulmonology Evaluation – I have to have a pulmonary function test and an arterial blood gas. I really have no idea what this means, but it sounds like it might hurt. Yikes!
  • Blood work with a TSH within the last 12 months – I did this a few weeks ago too, but if they need more blood I’ll let them poke me again. I think we’re good are though.
  • Physician supervised weight loss and exercise program for 6 months – My insurance pays for Weight Watchers meetings, which counts. I’m already doing pretty well there, so I’m going to keep it up. Today was my first of 6 appointments that will be specific to my weight-loss progress. I’ll see my doctor again a month from now, and I hope to be 8 to 10 pounds lighter.
  • Dietician Evaluation – This seems pretty straight forward, and I think I could benefit greatly from it. I’ll do that on the same day as my surgical visit.

I’ve been doing well with Weight Watchers lately, and I’m finally starting to feel well after a few weeks of pain due to skin issues. I haven’t exercised in over two weeks, but I think I’m well enough to start again. Unfortunately, there’s no prescription or remedy to completely fix the problem, so even though it hurts again I have to deal with it.

sleep studyTonight I’m doing a sleep study, which should be interesting. Thankfully, they sent me home with the equipment, so I’m not required to spend the night anywhere else. It seems invasive, but it won’t be nearly as uncomfortable as sleeping in a hospital or another strange place.

I typically sleep through the night and wake up feeling rested, so I’m guessing I’m okay. I’m just going to do every test they suggest with the hope that it will lead me to a healthier place overall.

This process feels overwhelming to me, but I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about how life would be different. I already love my life! I have a loving family, a great job, a group of good friends, a boyfriend who is thoughtful, encouraging and understanding, a comfortable home and a bright future. I don’t want any of that to change; I just want my health to improve long-term, so I  can enjoy the life I’m already living. It would be cool to be able to buy jeans again too, but I think I’m pretty close to that right now.

 

 

 

 

 

My Problem with the Body Positive Movement

I’m plus-size, and I like to think I’m body positive. The term, which in my understanding refers to those of us who love ourselves and others even though we’re overweight, seems like a good thing. I believe it’s important to love and accept ourselves, but I’ve never been “accepted” by this particular movement.

Sure, I champion the rights of plus-size people whenever possible. I’ve spoken at national conferences, opined on the topic for every major TV network in the US and sat across from CEO’s and executives in the hopes of creating a more accepting, respectful society, and I’ve seen some major change over the years due to my willingness to be a positive part of change.

I weigh about 350 pounds, and I have the audacity to believe that I’m pretty great. Society tells me that I shouldn’t feel that way, which is why the Body Positive movement needs to exist. They just need to get a grip because right now it seems that so many are focused on fat acceptance that they simply don’t accept my desire to be accepted if I pursue better health.

This isn’t a new issue. A few years ago I faced incredible amounts of opposition from the most notable fat acceptance organization in the US because I didn’t necessarily want to stay fat. I’m seeing the same sentiment again on Facebook and Twitter, and I think it’s judgmental and ridiculous to believe that someone must stay obese (and potentially unhealthy) simply to be accepted.

Losing weight has been challenging for me, but I’m determined to make healthy strides regardless of what shows on the scale. Let me be very clear for a moment – the only thing that has been more daunting than losing 200 + pounds is learning to love and accept myself. I did that, and now I’d like to see my body restored as well because I just don’t feel as good at 350 pounds as I did at 300 pounds.

I currently weigh less than I did at 27, but y blood pressure is higher now than it was at that time. My size affects me more than it did 7 years ago, and I feel a bit achy these days due to skin issues that wouldn’t exist if I were not obese. I also know that I’m wearing out my body more quickly than I should be because my body has to work harder because of the extra weight.

These are things I’ve known as long as I’ve been overweight, and there’s nothing wrong with changing them. And changing them shouldn’t mean that I’m no longer acceptable to a movement that allegedly exists to combat intolerance.

Here’s the reality. It’s been a long time since I required validation from society. Society sucks, and I don’t need to be accepted by this movement. I just think that it could be such a positive force if the leaders would come together and truly understand tolerance rather than being tolerant of people who are just like them and no one else. (This is a problem in every major movement in the media right now.)

I love my life and myself more than I ever have before, which is all the more reason for me to spend a little time tracking my food intake and exercising. Fueling my body with healthy things (at least sometimes) is a good thing, and regardless of whether a person or an entire movement takes issue with it I’ll still be happy in the long run because I did what was best for me.

 

Blood Work, Parties and Pictures…

My pain level has decreased significantly since my last post, and while I’m not 100% better, I feel well enough to exercise again and do the things I usually do.

My weekend started with friends and colleagues at a work party Friday night when I went to the Sizzling Summer Soiree, our biggest fundraiser of the year. We’ve been looking forward to it for months, and finally being there felt like a huge success.

Michael and MeMy boyfriend, Michael, was my date for the event (obviously,) and we arrived early with a car load of sushi that had been donated for the event. When we arrived he went to work as if he had been a part of the team forever. I love that about him. He’s incredibly intelligent, bright and successful, but when a job needs to be done he gets it done. No job is beneath him because he values everyone, which is such an attractive characteristic.

He already knows the folks I work with because we’re all friends, and they’ve known him since before we were really dating. The cool thing is that he would have worked just as hard or strangers. His parents definitely raised him right. Swoon.

Stacie and KenlieStacie, who has become one of our aforementioned close friends, worked tirelessly to make this event happen. I know others did too, but I saw the work she did first-hand. We definitely all breathed a sigh of relief as we saw the event come together, then she and I took our first selfie. Seriously, we’ve had some great times together, yet we had never taken a picture? We’ve talked about that a few times.  Aren’t we cute?!

After we took our first one we took a few more with our friends and awesome co-workers. (Why not?! We were all feeling snazzy without our ponytails and gym clothes. Haha We were only missing Haley, who looked gorgeous and sparkly from head to toe! )

YMCA Friends

Michael even took one of us that was not a selfie. Who doesn’t love a good group photo?

The Cannery New Orleans

Following the party Saturday and Sunday were the quietest days I’ve had in quite a while. Michael flew out of town for work early that morning and landed as I was waking up for the day (at 7:30 am) while I ran errands around town before returning home. I typically fill my weekends with activities and events,  but I chose to take a much needed rest from all the things.

I did some writing, cooking, reading, baking and shopping. I also watched Hillary and Kaine as she announced him as her VP and  picked up a ring that I had resized. (More on the ring later.)

I had such a quiet and relaxing weekend that I almost felt guilty about it, then I was reminded that sometimes I need that. I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled lifestyle tomorrow, but it felt good to have some rest after the last few weeks. I can’t say that I’ve been busier than usual, but I do have to say that everything feels more tiring and challenging when I don’t feel well.

Thankfully, I’m on the mend. I’m seeing my doctor again on Tuesday, and I hope to have a lot of questions answered pertaining to weight-loss surgery.

Oh, and my blood work came back normal. They tested my A1C (Yay! No diabetes,) thyroid, cholesterol and a long list of other things, and it all looked fine apart from my weight and blood pressure. (Both are higher than they should be, but I’m working on it.) I figured I was probably okay when I didn’t hear back from them immediately, but it’s comforting to know  that I’m alright for the most part anyway.