Change Happens…

I have been blogging here for nearly six years. I have had some incredible experiences as a result, made friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and learned a lot about who I am and who I want to be.

I’m so different than I was when I started this blog in 2009, and now I’m finally ready to make some changes. I’ve been considering this for a long time, and it’s time.

I took the first step toward making those changes online today. If you follow me on twitter or instagram, you should know that I no longer refer to myself as @alltheweigh.

You can still find me on both sites, but now you’ll need to search for @misskenlie.

I may still occasionally post here, but it’s not something that I’m interested in doing right now. I’m creating a new space that represents who I am and who I’m striving to be, and soon this site will be directed to that one.

Change happens.

Thanks to each of you who has taken time to support and encourage me. I’m truly thankful for you…

 

 

 

Mardi Gras, Weekly Weigh-In, and An Update On My Goals

I suck at living in New Orleans at this time of year. I’d rather eat my calories than drink them (especially in open containers on Bourbon Street,) and I live in the Central Business District (two blocks from the French Quarter on the clean side.) I didn’t grow up here, and while I have grown to love New Orleans, I cannot stand Mardi Gras. (My favorite Mardi Gras hashtag is one that I created, #GetOffMyLawn, which is funny because I don’t have a lawn.)

10988536_10206357698447958_6379379489296226331_n

This is what the traffic looks like from my rooftop. It’s typically slow moving until after midnight when the parades clear out.

The traffic flowing through downtown makes it impossible to enter my parking garage without driving the wrong way down a side street, and people come here from around the world to act like drunken lunatics. I’m all for having a good time, but I draw the line before naked people enact sex scenes on my sidewalk. (Yes, that actually happens…every year.)

10991163_10206420712623273_8716622633137272007_n

On a brighter note, it is easy to buy big hats, plastic swords, and over-sized beads while waiting to get home!

The revelry ends at midnight, at which time many of the locals begin observing Lent. (Did you know that the purpose of Mardi Gras is to get all of the partying out before the 40 days?) I’m not Catholic, but I have looked forward to the end of Mardi Gras every year since I moving here in 2012.

Many of my friends make goals and dedications during this time, and I think I can use this time frame to do something good for myself. My goal for the next 40 days is to exercise at least four times a week. For a long time that was something that I accomplished without much effort, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been consistent in my workouts.

I’ve seen positive results from taking control of what I consume. I have not had a doughnut since late September, and at this point I am no longer craving them. I quit drinking sodas almost six years ago, and throughout the last several years I have gone from no longer craving soft drinks to thinking they’re disgusting. It feels like doughnuts could become equally disgusting to me. I suppose time will tell. I also saw good results on the scale when I refrained from eating desserts for 21 days in January.

Now I’m expanding my focus to include breaking out of this cycle of lethargy that I’ve been in. I used to live for a good endorphin rush, but it took effort to get to that point. I’m ready to feel that way again.

I’m down another 2.2 pounds this week, which means that I’ve lost over 12 pounds since the beginning of the year. The losses aren’t huge, but if they stay consistent, I’ll be pleased with that.

Does anyone here dedicate anything for Lent? If so, what’s your plan?

Fifty Shades of Grey

I read all three books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, and I have been looking forward to watching the movie since before it was in production. Sure, I was underwhelmed by the lack of a tangible story line and the poor writing, especially when author tried to convince us that Ana and her roommate sat around their Seattle apartment drinking tea instead of coffee, but I enjoyed the first book enough to read the others.

I didn’t come to any harsh conclusions after reading the books when they came out, nor did I think that the sex was particularly steamy. The main female character was clearly inexperienced and naive, while Christian was successful, arrogant, and broken.

There’s something appealing about a sexy billionaire whose heart needs to be mended. We suspend reality to get to the happy endings, so why should Fifty Shades be any different? It’s not real; I’m not actually participating in abuse to watch this movie, and when it’s over I’m going to go back to the apartment that I live in alone. What’s the big deal? (I’ve been trying to honestly answer this question all week.)

The issue for me is that this kind of relationship leads to a path of devastation that I never want to experience. It is not sexy to me to think of a young, inexperienced woman who is manipulated and abused by a controlling man. It’s not romantic, and it’s definitely not GOD-approved.

When I read the books I was in a different head space. I wasn’t thinking about what GOD thought of my actions; I didn’t care about moving into a closer relationship with Him. I also neglected to see the implications of unhealthy relationships like these. I definitely should have known better.

I won’t be seeing this movie today or any other day. It’s not because I think I’m too holy for it; it’s because I think I’m too good for it. It’s because I only make room for people and things in my life that breed love, respect, and growth. I face real challenges, and watching watered down, R-rated pornography, while undoubtedly eating too much buttery popcorn, won’t help me conquer any of them.

I have friends who will see the movie, but I’m choosing not to. I won’t judge them for it, but I also won’t ask them about it. The truth is that my initial desire to watch this movie has caused me to look at other things that I watch, and I recognize that it’s time to make some changes in other areas as well.

Until then…

28 Days

I had a great visit with Dad last week. He met several of my friends, and He went home on Friday, then some friends from Fitbloggin’ made their way to New Orleans for a Mardi Gras weekend. I didn’t eat well at all, and I gained 1.4 pounds as a result. My plan is to take it off this week, and I’m doing that by making healthier food choices and time for exercise.

If I am what I eat, then today I’m leafy greens. Last week I was king cake, kobe beef sliders, and pork roast. Ha! My point is that I’m taking the reigns back today because I am happier with myself when I’m in control. I’m tracking everything that I eat, which makes it easier to stay accountable.

One of my goals for the month of February is to match the loss that I had in January. I want to lose 10 pounds again this month, but I have another goal too that isn’t related limited to my weight.

I’ve talked about my church a zillion times here, and this month they posted a challenge social media. NOLA Church’s 28 Days of Love gives us a small challenge each morning, and I’ve following along on Instagram and completing them each day for the last ten days. (You can see each day’s challenge at: instagram.com/nola_church if you want to.)

NOLA Church 28 Days of Love

I plan to complete each day because these little steps add so much joy and satisfaction to my life, but Day 10 impacted me in a major way. “Learn how to love yourself.” It sounds so simple doesn’t it?

I tried figuring out how to love myself for years, and so many of you told me that I couldn’t love someone else until I learned to love myself, blah, blah, blah…I searched for love through relationships, some of which were completely wrong for me. I looked for love/acceptance/joy by lying to myself and others about who I was. I was so steeped in shame that I couldn’t feel love, then that changed.

I began to love myself when I realized who GOD is and what He did for me. I started to understand that I could and should love myself when I realized that GOD sent Jesus (who was perfect and sinless, by the way) to feel every bit of shame, hate, anger, hurt, sin, and every other thought or emotion that we as humans would feel to die for us…to die for me.

Sunday, my pastor, Monte, said, “Jesus loved us so much that it killed Him.” The amazing news is that it didn’t stop there. He conquered death, hell, and the grave for us…for me.

It gets a lot easier to love myself when I think of GOD’s never-failing love for me. GOD loved the world so much that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For GOD did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3:16-17)

GOD is love, and He loves me. That led me to repentance, which ultimately led me into a relationship with Him. I love Him, and when I started placing my focus on others instead of myself, I began to see His goodness up close. That realization showed me that if GOD loves me, who am I not to love myself?

God loves you, and He’s never going to stop. if you don’t believe me, come spend a week or two with me.

Later friends…

 

 

 

 

 

An Update On My January Goals and More…

I can’t believe it’s already February, but I’m happy to report that I accomplished the goals I set for January. One goal was to refrain from all desserts/sweets for 21 days, and I did it. Sugar is like air to me, at least it feels that way sometimes, but I didn’t cave. I used the times in which I craved desserts to pray and to read my Bible. It may sound silly to some, but I drew closer to God during that time. It was awesome. I felt so empowered by my actions that I’ll make a similar goal for February.

I accomplished another goal as well; I lost 10 pounds in the month of January. I may have lost a little more than that because I reached the goal last week. I won’t step on the scale again until next Monday. I can’t express how awesome it feels to be moving in the right direction, and it feels good to have several weeks of control under my belt. My doughnut-free streak continues as well, and I need to buy new jeans as a result. I love that.

Dad arrived in New Orleans today, and I’m so happy that he will be spending the week with me. I had planned to go and see him during Mardi Gras, but I’m so happy that he’s here instead!

He met me at Starbucks because I was there most of the afternoon. The weather was nice enough to sit through a conference call outside, but it quickly turned cool. I tutored at City Greens, a farm-to-table restaurant next door, ate fruit, drank too much coffee and lots of water, and waited for him to arrive.

Eating fruit and drinking sparkling water always feels indulgent. I love that it's satisfying and positive for my health.

Eating fruit and drinking sparkling water always feels indulgent. I love that it’s satisfying and positive for my health.

I haven’t seen him since April. (I seriously refuse to go that long without seeing him again.) We went to Ulta, where we found some makeup deals. (“We” being me, but thanks for being a good sport, Dad! Ha)  I got two Laura Geller sets that included two bottles of primer, two foundation powders, two brushes, mascara, blush and brightener, and concealer. The bottle of concealer typically costs more than the entire package, which made it feel like a no-brainer.

FullSizeRender-1

After that we went to dinner at one of my favorite spots, then dropped my car off for an oil change at the dealership. (That worked out well because he won’t have to pay $49 a night to park, which is what they raise the prices to when events like Mardi Gras are about to happen.)

Dad was exhausted after his day of travel, so I finished up my work for the day while he went to sleep. I typically do not allow myself to bring my laptop to bed, but I made an exception tonight.

IMG_2386

It was a productive day, and I got a lot accomplished tonight as well. Now it’s time to get some sleep because I plan to enjoy as much time with Dad as I can. Most other things will be secondary this week.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to make buttermilk biscuits, eggs, and bacon for Dad and friends, and I’m so happy that he will be seeing and meeting people who mean so much to me.

If you live far from your family, you know how it feels. I’m just so glad he’s here…

Until later….

 

 

Thoughtful Thursdays: Where I Live

Welcome to week three of my new blog link up. I remember when I hosted a different weekly link up and how excited I was when we were averaging over fifty link submissions per week. It was such a cool way to make new friends, and I’d love to see the same thing happen with this blog party over time.

Thoughtful Thursdays on All the Weigh

Please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your Thoughtful Thursdays questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own Thoughtful Thursdays post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

 

Where I Live

 

1. Where do you currently live? I live in downtown New Orleans, LA.

2. Have you lived in your current state throughout your entire life? Nope. I’ve lived in many different states.

3. If you answered no to Question 1, then where else have you lived? Texas, Oklahoma, New York, and some other states as well.

4. What is the coolest thing about your city/town? The people are pretty awesome overall. I’ve made friends here like I’ve never had anywhere else.

5. Are there any holidays that your state goes all out to celebrate? If so, tell us about it. People go nuts over Mardi Gras. Tourists come in from all over the world to celebrate it. I live in the heart of downtown…just a couple of blocks from the French Quarter, but I cannot stand Mardi Gras. I’ll probably get out of town for most of it.

6. Describe your neighborhood (climate, scenery, etc.) I live in the Central Business District. It’s an urban area in a relatively tall building that is surrounded by other relatively tall buildings. I like it because even though New Orleans is small, my neighborhood feels like a city, and the Mississippi River is only a few blocks away.

7. What do you wish you could change most about the place you live? I wish we had seasons. I miss seeing the leaves change, watching snow fall, etc.

8. Describe your home. What’s your favorite thing about it?  I live in a historic building that was completed in the 1920’s. It’s gorgeous. It was converted from commercial offices to homes a few years ago, and I’m the first person to live in my unit. My favorite thing is probably the rooftop. We have a pool, grills, tables, and a beautiful view up there. I like being up there when it’s warm.

9. Where do you shop for groceries? Hmmm, I go to Target and Sam’s Club most, but there’s a Rouse’s just a few blocks away from my apartment. Sometimes I walk there when I’m at home and just need a few things.

10.. What is your favorite regular activity in your city/town? I spend a lot of time with friends, and we love game nights. We don’t always get around to actually playing games, but most of the time we do. We also just enjoy each other’s company too.

 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Thursday!

 

 

 

My January Goal

Today was a long and productive day, but I’m not feeling well right now. My head has been aching since late this afternoon, and I feel nauseated as well. I did’t eat much for lunch, and i skipped dinner completely because I can’t even think about food without feeling sick.

In spite of how awful I feel right now, I’m happy because I reached my goal of losing ten pounds in January. I even did it with a few days left to spare. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but numbers like that are life changing over the course of a year. I’m trying not to think about it like that though. Instead I’m just focusing on losing another 10 pounds over the next 30 days.

I’ve been losing weight consistently for the last several weeks, and I can honestly say that I forgot how good it feels. I forgot how empowering it feels to drive by Krispy Kreme without feeling tempted to eat a thousand extra calories of crap.

It feels good to remember. I wish I could remember how awesome the rush of endorphins feel after a heart-pumping workout. Exercise used to be a regular thing in my life, but I spent a lot of time not prioritizing it last year. I want 2015 to be different, which means that I have to make choices that aren’t always comfortable if I really want to accomplish that.

I’ve done some key things differently lately:

– I have chosen salads and healthy wraps over burgers and oversized burritos.

– I’ve continued to avoid sugary drinks at Starbucks even though I’m still there almost daily.

– I skipped dessert again today, after indulging in it over the weekend after 21 days of avoiding them completely.

– I’ve continued to say no to doughnuts. I haven’t had one since September, and right now I don’t miss them. It feels great to say no to them.

– I have asked God to give me strength to make healthier choices.

– I’ve taken time to buy fresh produce and prepare it at home along with other healthy foods.

There’s still so much more that I need to do! Exercise needs to become a regular thing again. I’m not sure why I currently dread something that brings me so much satisfaction, but it’s time to change that. It took some time before, and I realize that if I start making it a habit whether I like it or not, I’ll probably love it again soon.

January has been a successful month for my health, and I hope to do better in February.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Getting To Know You

I’m kind of enjoying this new Thursday thing, and I hope that it grows into a fun, weekly activity for many of us. My readership has changed, and I don’t really know who’s here. That leads me to this week’s topic. Let’s spend a few minutes getting to know each other!

Thoughtful Thursdays on All the Weigh

Please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your Thoughtful Thursdays questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own Thoughtful Thursdays post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Getting To Know You

1. List three things that you don’t need, but that you wouldn’t want to live without. Hmmmm…My iPhone, Macbook, and dessert

2. What is your favorite/least favorite household chore? I don’t mind doing the dishes/cleaning the kitchen, etc. I like to keep things tidy, but I wish my floors would clean themselves.

3. Tell us about your hobbies (things that you do to relax, to have fun, etc.) I love to bake, though I haven’t done that in nearly three weeks. I also enjoy reading, knitting, playing board games, attending small groups with my NOLA Church folks, and shopping. (This list could be much longer.)

4. What’s your favorite holiday, and why? Christmas. I love Thanksgiving too and all of the time in between. People are nicer, the weather is usually cool and crisp too (at least it was until I moved to New Orleans!)

5. It’s Wednesday night. What will you do to enjoy yourself? Well, tonight I hosted a game night at my favorite coffee shop. I thought that I’d have a friend or two there, but we ended up having a group of 10 people. It was awesome.

Game Night

6. Share at least three things that you like about yourself. I like my ability to connect with people in a genuine and altruistic way, I like my smile and ability to laugh at myself, and I like my musical talent. I’m thankful for all of these things.

Kenlie Lane Bryant Purple

7. What are you looking forward to doing most over the coming weekend? Gosh..there’s so much…Mom is coming into town, but before that we’re finishing up our 21 Days of Prayer with breakfast at church. These periods always change my life, and this one has been incredible. Maybe I’ll talk about that more at some point.

8. Did you make any goals for January? If so, how are they coming along? My goal for January is to lose 10 pounds, and I had lost 7 at my last weigh-in. I ate chips and queso that I didn’t need last night, so I’m going to have to work a little smarter in the coming days if I want to accomplish that goal.

9. Are you in a relationship? A romantic one? Nope. I have awesome relationships with family and friends though. Does that count? (I wrote the question, so no. Ha…)

10. What is your favorite TV channel? It depends on the time of year. If it’s during the holidays, it’s definitely the Hallmark Channel. The rest of the year I leave the TV on mute with CNN or QVC playing in the background. I like CNN because I can keep up with what’s happening around the world, and I like QVC because they’re always so darn happy about everything on that channel. Ha

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!

I Don’t Have Kids, And I’m Not Sure If I Want To

Last week I shared my reasons for not having kids with SHAPE Magazine. It’s not something that I talk about often, but it’s a relevant topic for women my age.

Shape Magazine

People often tell me that I’d make a great mother, which is a huge compliment. I absolutely adore my nieces, and I can’t imagine life without them. My church is filled with bouncy, happy kids who run to me in droves to hug me. They even call me ‘Olaf’ because I remind them of the sweet snowman who loves warm hugs. It makes me so happy!

I always dreaded the idea of having kids, even when I lived with a man that I thought I would marry in my late 20’s. He wanted them; I didn’t. It was a small source of contention, but we had plenty of other reasons to break it off.

Last year when I had serious feelings (like I want to marry him, and I’ll spend the rest of my life living in a mini mcmansion in the suburbs if it means I can be with him kind of feelings) I realized that I might want to be a mother. He has three amazing kids, and being close to all of them them helped me understand what it would be like to be responsible for another person.That man was the first person (and the only one so far) who ever made me think that the 9 month process that women go through might be something that I’d want to do.

I’m not going to marry him and live happily ever after in the suburbs, which is okay since I’m more comfortable in my urban, high-rise environment. It was painful to come to that realization, but he showed me that it was possible to feel that way about a person and having a potential family.

When a writer from SHAPE asked me about my thoughts on having children, it wasn’t easy to offer my opinion.

Women are supposed to want to have kids. Many of them grow up playing with baby dolls, dreaming of the perfect wedding dress, etc. I didn’t think about that much as a kid. In high school I assumed that I’d go to college, then get married around 22. Most people around me at the time did just that, but I traveled, moved to the coolest city in the nation, made friends, found love, lost it, went back to school, etc.

People who have kids tell me how much it changed them, how awesome it is, etc. They explain that they once felt the way that I do, that having kids makes you less selfish…I believe that’s true, but I’ve seen situations in which kids are not a parent’s top priority. It’s sad, and it’s irresponsible.

It’s also important to note my size. I know several women my size who have kids, and I definitely have more energy than many people that I know (larger and smaller than I am.) I’d be at a higher risk than a person of average size too. I’m not saying that it’s not possible; I’m just saying that there’s risk involved.

It sounds so harsh to say that I don’t want to have kids, but that’s not exactly true anyway. The truth is that I just don’t know, and I think you need to be fully committed to it before adding another human to this overpopulated planet.

I don’t have a supportive husband, and raising a child isn’t something that I want to do alone. I don’t even have a dog right now because I’m not home enough to care for one properly. How am I supposed to be responsible for a tiny human life?

 

 

 

Embracing My Selfie, Or Why I Take Lots of Pictures of Myself

I’ve been taking selfies since before they had a name. I avoided the camera for years, but at some point on my journey through life, it became common for me to snap photos of myself.

Kenlie

Last week I got to spend time with a long time blog friend, Cathy, who was in New Orleans visiting for a conference. When she told me about her upcoming trip, we knew we’d meet up, and we did. We met at Cafe Dumonde, where I resisted beignets. (Yay for me!) We also walked around Jackson Square, which is the prettiest part of the French Quarter in my opinion.

This woman has been my friend since at least 2010. The moment I saw her, it was like seeing someone that I hadn't seen in ages!

This woman has been my friend since at least 2010. The moment I saw her, it was like seeing someone that I hadn’t seen in ages!

As we walked down Royal St, we stopped at CVS to pick up a few things, and I found a selfie stick! I obviously bought it on the spot, and it’s the best $10 I’ve spent in a while. I haven’t used it to take any selfies because doing that would be ridiculous, but I’ve been in some hilarious group photos that wouldn’t have been possible without my Mono Pod de Narcissism.

I’m surrounded by an uplifting group of friends, many of whom take selfies, with exception of a few because they’re too narcissistic, and I understand that. I really do, and even though I kind of agree, I look at it from a different perspective.

There was a time when I hated myself so much that i avoided mirrors at all costs. I looked at myself long enough to style my hair and apply makeup, but I was mortified when I caught my reflection in store windows. I hated the way I looked in photos. I still took them, but I didn’t post them online because of my shame. For years the only photo that I had one Facebook was a picture of my hair blowing in the wind while driving with the top down. I didn’t want to be seen by others, nor did I want to take a look at myself either.

Sometimes I take full body photos to send to Ariel, so she can say yes to the outfit or no.

Sometimes I take full body photos to send to Ariel, so she can say yes to the outfit or no.

Now, years later, I’m still not skinny, but I love myself. I’m not pleased with myself for still having so much weight to lose, but I love myself. I haven’t accomplished every goal that I set yet, but I love myself. (You get the idea, right?)

Full body Selfie Lane Bryant

I also think that it’s okay to wear horizontal stripes even though I always hear that I shouldn’t. Whatever, folks. I’m doing it.

Sometimes when I take a selfie, I’m reminded of how much work I have to do. It’s also hard to accept the fact that I could have done so much more over the last few years. Those thoughts are important to face because it has helped me make better decisions over the last few months – decisions that bring me closer to my goal.

Gym Selfie

I was frustrated seeing myself in the giant gym mirrors when I took this around the holidays because I should be smaller now, then I remembered that I was in the gym doing something good for myself. I like capturing those moments.

Some days I post selfies because I want to hear that I’m cute, pretty, etc., and when that happens I admit it with proper hashtags. #PAYATTENTIONTOME

See? I have some pretty uplifting friends who encourage me when I need it.

See? I have some pretty uplifting friends who encourage me when I need it.

And some days (many lately) I take selfies because I feel pretty. I’ve been using a few products on my face since Christmas, and the result is that my makeup is still mostly in tact even after singing (sweating guts out) on Sunday morning. (Thank you, Smashsbox Photo Finish!)

Kenlie Naps

I took this selfie last week right before I took a long afternoon nap on my sofa. Sundays start early for me, so sometimes I nap.

Some people find success, at least temporarily, by tearing themselves down. I feel successful when I see myself and love the person that I see.

I have a lot to accomplish, and I’m happy to say that I’ve lost week for the last five weeks in a row. It may not sound like much, but I’m experiencing more consistency in my food choices than I have in a long time. I haven’t had a doughnut since September, and I haven’t indulged in any desserts in over two weeks.

I’m feeling good about my tiny steps in the right direction, and the selfies will continue to be a small representation of that. They might also lead to encouragement from people who care on days that I need that too.

Kenlie Car

How do you feel about selfies? Are they good? Bad? Do you care either way?