Do You Have Health Insurance?

I don’t spend a lot of time complaining about the government because I respect our leaders even when I don’t agree with them.  That said, I think it’s ridiculous that I’m struggling to decide whether or not to keep health insurance due to the inane spike in costs.

I currently pay $222 per month, but that’s about to change.  I’m single, and it’s been over a year since I had a doctor visit for anything other than the basics.  ( And I rarely show up for those.)  I am in no way abusing the system.  I pay into it, but I count myself lucky that I haven’t had any substantial need for healthcare.

As a student at Tulane, I have two choices: purchase insurance through the school  or provide proof that I have healthcare.  If I don’t, I’ll incur fees that are completely separate from the fees that are completely separate from anyone fees that I will incur from the government.

Now, instead of paying $222 per month, I’ll be forced to pay nearly $400 per month. The cheapest option (with a high deductible) is $340 per month.  That’s a significant increase, especially since Obamacare was supposed to make healthcare “better.”  And I’m not alone. Earlier this year, a 3,137-county analysis published by the Manhattan Institute showed Obamacare increased 2014 Individual-Market premiums by an average of 49%. It’s hard to imagine paying that amount of money for something that I don’t typically use.  It’s also terrifying to think of not having health insurance in the event that I really do need it.

I realize that Americans are forced to have healthcare now,  but do you have healthcare?  I’m pretty sure that my answer will be no a few days from now.

Until then…

Friends, Fitness and Other Stuff

I know that I mentioned that I’m working on a new blog, but when I start thinking about replacing this one with something else, I start wondering if it’s a good idea.  The name obviously doesn’t have the same meaning as it did when I started writing here, but it feels like me.

It’s always been about so much more than weight-loss.  It’s about the reasons that I gained weight in the first place, the reasons that I struggle so much to lose it.  It’s about finding happiness and peace and strength to do the things that scare me and invigorate me.  I’ve found a lot of that through God, family, friends and my church, but I don’t know if I’m ready to let go of something that has been such an important tool for my growth.

Kenlie and Friends

The truth is that if I knew how to give this blog the facelift that it needs, I’d simply do that.  I just don’t know much about the technical part of blogging, which is why it’s always been so simple here.  Maybe I should work on figuring that out (even though the other blog name is pretty awesome too.)

In other news, school has started again, and I can’t decide which classes to take.  I also decided that I wouldn’t drink anything at Starbucks this month until after I completed a workout.  It’s my home away from home, and I think it’ll work as pretty good motivation.

Last night while I was comfortably knitting on my sofa, the fire alarms went off in my building.  I put my sneakers on and walked from my floor to the ground floor (because we couldn’t use the elevators,) then I quickly walked up several flights of stairs in the parking garage to get to my car so I could leave.  My heart was pounding a little by the end, but I looked at it as a bonus workout.

Knitting

I’m looking forward to September because I love this time of year.  I made an exercise goal that has nothing to do with numbers, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it impacts my health.

Is anyone else starting a new semester?  Do you have any goals for the month?

Can We Really Be Fat and Happy?

I rarely refer to myself or others as ‘fat’ even though I am. The word has such a negative connotation, and I choose to focus on my positive attributes more than my negative ones. I’m smart, thoughtful and caring, and I’m not afraid to admit it when I screw up. I don’t mind being the first to say that I’m sorry after an argument, and I’m not afraid to chase the goals in my life that haunted me for years. I can be a great girlfriend (when I have a significant other,) and I ampassionate about helping people.

I could go on and on about my positive qualities. (Don’t act surprised. Bloggers are narcissistic!) I know what I’m good at, and there is no shortage of reasons to love myself. I have experienced the kind of joy and peace that has changed my life over the last couple of years, but I’m not as focused on my health as I used to be.

I exercise more than the average person, but it’s not the priority that it once was. Healthy food still makes its way into my meals almost daily, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as it once was. I have to admit that I miss that feeling of control that I once had, but in most other areas I’m happier now than I was when I was losing weight.

It feels great to make goals and to stick to them, and it feels awesome to achieve the desired results after hard work. On the flip side, the driving force behind my weight loss goals came from a desire to feel loved and validated by myself and others, and I’ve experienced those feelings more since living in New Orleans that ever before.

I feel content in almost every area of my life, and I wake up happy and refreshed almost everyday. These are the feelings that I was fighting so hard to gain as I lost weight, and now I have them. People love and accept me just as I am. I love and accept me just as I am.

It’s hard to believe that I ever looked in the mirror and hated the woman staring back at me. I love her now, and I want what’s best for her. It’s just not as black and white as it was before. I don’t subscribe to the thought that reaching a certain number on the scale will fulfill me.

I do think it’s important to get to what feels like a healthy weight for myself, but I don’t know what that number is. I don’t dream about hitting a particular number. I dream of meeting someone who loves and desires me even though my clothing size isn’t made up of single digits like many of my BFF’s. I dream of living in a in a that society doesn’t think that being a size 24 is the most offensive thing that a person can ever be.

Leslie
Being obese makes life harder than it should be sometimes, and I know that somewhere within me is the power to change it. My personal experience showed me how good it feels to experience significant weight-loss, but the same experience helped me see the value in enjoying life without the constant stress and restrictions of counting points or counting calories or saying no.
I’m searching for a balance (and have been for months,) and I seem to be feel the best when I’m mindful of what I’m consuming. I also feel good when I exercise regularly because endorphins are awesome.

Often times we strive to lose weight because we think it’s what we need to be happy, but the truth is that most of us are looking for the same things everyday – love, peace, grace and acceptance. Having those things makes me happy, and those truths aren’t going to change even if my body does.

Quick and Transparent

I’ve been absent lately because I’m finally creating the new blog that I’ve been thinking about for over a year now.  It should be up and going in the next week or two.  I’ve had a lot of good days lately, but I’m aggravated right now.

I’d rather focus my energy on the new blog and all of the reasons that I have to be thankful, but I’d like to get this off of my chest too.

—–

I’d like to go home and curl up on the sofa with someone that I love.  Doughnuts tend to be my fall back plan since there’s no ‘someone that I love” at home.  I realize that Krispy Kreme isn’t going to bring me inner joy or peace, but it will satisfy my need for instant gratification. I want to cuddle! 

It makes me feel weak and pathetic, and it’s happening at a time when everything else in my life is going incredibly well.  These feelings are not going to define my mood all day, but I know how important it is to acknowledge them so I can move on from them.

Am I the only one whose natural instinct wants you to turn to food when you’re lacking affection?

 

UPDATE: I did not eat doughnuts. After posting this, I completely forgot about them, and I drove straight home. This is why blogging has been such a helpful tool for me. I felt the feelings, then I let them go.

 

I’m Worn Out, But…

The last few weeks have felt incredibly busy and productive and slow moving all at the same time.  I made a big decision that I’m at peace with now, but I stressed over what was right for a few weeks first.  I also just took my last Summer exam, which means that I have two weeks to decompress from school before it starts again.  I don’t always whine about needing a break from school, but right now, I’m happy to have one.

I’ve gotten a lot accomplished, but I’m tired.  Last night I could sleep.  I usually snooze only a moment or two after my head hits the pillow, but I knew that I needed to be up at 4:45  am.  I’m not sure why it’s so hard to sleep when I know that I am starting my day early, but my mind just wouldn’t slow down last night.  At least I can say that as a result, I know that I aced my final exam.  I scored a 99% on my midterm for the same class, and I’m guessing that my final exam will be similarly scored.

I haven’t spent much time online, which seems to be a theme in my life these days.  I mean, I still post occasional photos of my iced, nonfat caramel macchiatos from Starbucks on Instagram from time to time, but I seem to consistently lack a need to connect here in the way that I used to. (I’ve been saying that a lot lately…at least when I’m here. Ha)

I’m weighing in at Mom’s house once a week, and it’s so refreshing to see the numbers on the scale inching down.  I’m not in the mood to be judged by the numbers here, but they’re moving in the right direction for the first time in quite some time.  I started tracking my food intake when I left Fitbloggin after visiting with friends who understand my weight issues, and I’m trying to make good choices one day at a time.

It’s funny.  Even at my lowest weight, which was 284 pounds, I was still obese.  I was just less obese than now, and it felt so much better (physically) than this.  I was more confident – not so much due to my size – but rather because I was in control.  I want the feelings of self-control to become second  nature again so I’m working on it.

The last few weeks have been tough, but I feel like I can finally relax again.  I’m worn out, but I’m happy.  I’m also keenly aware and thankful for everything that makes my life awesome.

 

Just Checking In

It’s finally Friday!  My week has been extraordinarly busy, and I got a lot more accomplished.  That said, the week has been dragging, and I’m so happy that the weekend is almost here.  I’m also thankful for the time that I got to spend with some awesome ladies last night.

Starbucks.jpg

After considering whether or not I wanted to purse a teaching certificate, I realized that it’s nor necessary for me.  I’d really prefer to teach at the collegiate level, which means that I can get a Master’s in Communications and work a second job as an adjunct professor.  At that point, I can decide whether or not to pursue a Ph. D.  (How cool would it be to call me Dr. Kenlie? Ha.)

I took another giant life step forward this week.  I’m not ready to discuss it online, but I’m feeling confident about my future, secure in my faith in God and ready to see what else He has planned for me.

As I continue to evolve, I find myself changing the way that I do things online.  There are certain things that I just don’t plan to seek approval for anymore, which means that I don’t have much to say today.

Throughout the last week, I’ve continued to be more mindful about what I eat, but I still need to find my way back into a healthy cardio groove.

Finals are coming up this week, and I’m ready for class to be over.  I love school, but I do not love every class.  I’m learning, but I’m worn and looking forward to the two week break after my last final exam on Wednesday.

Have I mentioned how thankful I am for the work that God is doing in my life right now?  I don’t wish to elaborate, at least for now, but I’m in a very good place and grateful for it.

Does anyone else feel like this week was long and busy?

 

When I Grow Up

I’m officially 34 years old now, and as I look back at the last year, I feel pretty awesome about what lies ahead.

I talk about school a lot, but I rarely get specific. I’m studying public relations and marketing, but I’ve also inadvertently used my electives to study health sciences.

I guess it’s weird to be a student at my age, but I like it. In fact, I love being in the classroom, and recently I joked that if I could get paid to go to school, I’d do it forever. Then a light bulb went off in my mind. I could be a teacher.

I’ve always joked that I like money too much to teach, but under the right circumstances, it could be awesome! It would give me the opportunity to help others learn, and it would also create a level of stability in my career that I haven’t experienced up to this point. It would also allow me to spend time traveling, which is something that I enjoy. (I’m writing this post from a plane too.)

Living in New Orleans has been a better experience than I ever imagined, but I can see myself moving on at some point. Why not get a teaching certificate first?

I love learning, and there’s something so awesome about seeing a child who didn’t think he could do it realize that he could. (I experienced that earlier this year, and I’d like to again.)

I realize that it takes a certain kind of person to teach, but I think it’s something that I’d be good at. My mom was a teacher, and my sister is a teacher now. Maybe it runs in my blood?

If I go into teaching, I’ll still be involved in other things, but I think that’s okay. I realize that it’s an important decision to make before I commit to getting certified, but I have a few months to think about it. I’ve just been thinking about it a lot recently, and it seems like a great idea.

Are there any teachers reading this? If so, what made you decide to become an educator? What do you love about it? What do you wish you could change?

Life with Skinny Friends

Most of my friends don’t have weight problems, but I do. It’s fun to go out to eat with them or to bake for them or to have a drink at Starbucks with them. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that either. I’d trade six-pack abs for enjoyable food any day, but I do need to think about what I eat even when the people around me aren’t thinking about it.

My friend, Alicia, is hot. (I can say that because she’s my BFF.) She is barely over 5 ft. tall and doesn’t weigh much more than 100 pounds. She’s tiny, but she fantasizes about sushi just as much as I do.

My friend and colleague, Brandon, is also hot. He’s tall and lean and perfect looking, and like Alicia, he’s Italian. He loves to cook, and he does it very well. Everything he makes is delicious, and he enjoys it. He also works out hard and regularly, and he seems to have a good grip on when to say no.

Another friend is gorgeous. She’d tell you that she wants to lose weight, but she’s perfect looking already. If you have any doubts about that, spend the day with her. Guys want to marry her before they even talk to her. It’s insane. We do a lot together, and she doesn’t have to watch what she eats how I do.

The list could be much longer, but you get the idea. I spend a lot of time with people who love food too, but none of them need to lose 150 pounds.

For some reason, it’s more enjoyable to eat with other people who love to eat, and there’s no shortage of those people in my life. I know that it is 100% my responsibility to limit the amount of food that I consume, but I’m beginning to recognize that eating with others has always given me a feeling of validation.

I’m not a binge eater. I’m a social eater. I am an emotional eater, but I’d rather eat among friends or family than alone. I’d rather dine solo at a restaurant than to sit at my dining table at home.

As I was eating dinner with a few of my colleagues from Plus Inc. recently, I realized that seeing someone else (someone smaller) accept a second helping gave me an emotionally charged green light to have seconds myself.

That behavior is something that has always existed in me, but I never realized it until that night at dinner.

Recognizing the emotions of validation that exist when I eat with others will allow me to adjust my behavior now. My mind was blown, and at this moment, I realize that I need a better reason to consume calories than “well, everyone else is doing it.”

Would I jump off of a bridge just because everyone else is doing it?

Of course I wouldn’t. Why would I let my eating habits be dictated by what others are doing, as opposed to my own nutritional needs?

I’ve been reflecting on my habits and desires lately, and I’m trudging through them because I want to continually work to become a healthier version of myself. I want to control my habits instead of letting them control me.

I’m more mindful than I’ve been in years, and I’m confident that it will start to show on the scale at some point too.

Airplanes and Food

Blogging is one of my favorite things to do on an airplane, and right now I’m fired up so I want to discuss the ridiculousness that is food choices. (Don’t judge me. It’s 9:22 pm, and I haven’t had dinner.)

I’m on a flight from New York to New Orleans. We were delayed over an hour one we boarded, which is nothing compared to the several hours of delays I faced on the way to New York. Now it’s time for dinner, and I don’t have any reasonable options.

While visiting the city that never sleeps, I found myself in bed relatively early every night. I slept so well every night, and I’m looking forward to climbing under the blankets in my own bed tonight.

Going to bed significantly earlier means that I need to eat dinner earlier too, but that’s not going to happen tonight. My options on the plane, apart from the complimentary pretzels, cookies and peanuts, are potato chips or trail mix. (Really, Delta?)

It’s not just Delta though. Sadly, apart from first-class flights from L.A. to New York, I’ve never had very good options, and that’s aggravating. They serve up drinks that I’m not interested in so I ask for water, which is fine. They’re not flying us around for free so I just wonder why the airlines can’t do better than overpriced Pringles and trail mix.

I’d be willing to pay ten bucks for a sandwich, snap peas and hummus or something similar on a 3-hour evening flight, but that’s not an option today. Instead I’ll just sit back, relax and be happy that I’ll be able to make better choices tomorrow.

What do you think about airplane food? Do you have any ideas regarding how they could offer better choices in flight?

The More I Learn, The More I Realize That There’s So Much That I Don’t Know

There’s no question when it comes to whether or not I am as perfect as I can be already. I’m not. I have so much to learn, but often times, what holds me back is in inability to admit that I still have so much to learn.

I know that I need to eat less, move more, etc. What I struggle to understand is why I want to eat so much so often. Delving into the associated feelings to find an answer threatens to put me in a place in which I have to feel some uncomfortable things.

Why do I feel such a strong urge to go out of my way to make a stop at Krispy Kreme on my way home from a certain man’s house? Am I sabotaging myself since he doesn’t love me quite enough? Am I trying to fill a void? Am I depressed because I’m not getting what I want when I want it?

I could answer yes to all of these questions, but in thinking about these things, I find myself trying to put on a face of bravery or indifference to spare myself from feeling those unhappy feelings.

I have so many reasons to be thankful, and I am. I have so much. I
struggle to admit that I still want more (in relationships, in weight-loss, in everything…) because I don’t want to seem ungrateful for everything that I do have.

Gaining control of my life is obviously a multi-faceted process, and I’m not succeeding in all of the areas yet. Overall, I’m happy more often than I’m sad. I’m thankful more often than I’m envious. I’m at peace more often than I’m stressed.

I’m in a good place, but I’d like to get to an even better place. Can I do that without trudging through some uncomfortable emotions to get there? Probably definitely not.

It’s not always easy to love myself just because (not because I lost some weight or because I’m doing well in school or because I’ve accomplished x, y or z) just because, but it’s getting easier.

I’m learning that my existence (my purpose) is to learn and change and grow. I want to impact others with my positive attitude and with my willingness to try and fail and try again.

Success isn’t about getting from point A to point B without making mistakes. It’s about continuing to fight through obstacles and starting over when necessary. It’s about understanding who you are and what your purpose is, and then turning those thoughts into action.