Looking Back and Moving Forward, Or Happy Birthday To Me

Well, it’s official.  It’s my birthday, and I’d like an iPad, a Bahama Breeze Yankee Candle, a Queen-Size Aerobed and for people to be nicer to each other.  I’m 33 years old today, and when I think about how I felt as I turned 23 years old, I am so utterly thankful to be here…to be living the life I’m living.

When I look back at the last few years of my life, I see a lot of positive changes in myself.  It hasn’t been easy, but I like to think that I’ve come a long, long way.  (And no, I’m not referring to my weight which is still ridiculously in need of change.)  I’m referring to the changes that I’ve made within myself.

It’s easy to feel like a failure when I look at myself in the mirror, but when I think about who I am and where my heart is today, I feel like I’ve already won.  I’m happy.

Being honest about myself and my feelings used to be terribly hard for me, and it’s still a struggle sometimes.  Throughout most of my twenties, I kept secrets and refused to face the things I didn’t like about myself – my weight, my feelings of failure, my regrets.   I lived in fear (of failure, the future, etc,) and I often felt like a victim in my own skin.

I felt unworthy of love.  I believed that I had used up all of the grace that God had set aside for me, and I felt like there was nothing I could do change myself.  (I’m so glad I was wrong about all of that.)

I hurt people who mattered to me.  I lied.  I wasted years of my life because I couldn’t envision myself as a happy and healthy person no matter how hard I tried.  I made excuses.  I judged others even though I knew how horrible it felt to be judged harshly.  I gave up on myself before I ever really tried, and I blamed everyone except me.

Then at some point I started believing that I could change.  I started to embrace sweat, and I began saying no to foods that made me happy for a few minutes before filling me with remorse.  My body began to change.  My self-confidence began to grow, and I started seeing myself as someone that I could maybe be proud of someday.

I formed some good habits that changed the way I saw myself.  I started loving the woman I saw in the mirror, and I started believing that I was special just as I was.

Then my world crumbled, and I found myself feeling sad and stagnant.  My weight-loss tapered off, and while I never made excuses for it, I tried convincing myself that I was fine with it.  I’m not.  I moved across the country, and after many months, I began settling into the life I’m living now in New Orleans.  I moved into a new place, and I am living a comfortable, happy life.  I’ve decided to accept myself as I am even though there are things that I still need to change.

My weight is still out of control, but other facets of my life are headed in the right direction.  I’m happy, and I’m thankful for it.  I know that I still need to finish what I started with weight-loss, and I am convinced that the time is coming in which I’ll be able to prove to myself (and others) that I can do this.

As I grow another year older, I am resolved to continue living my life and loving it.  I’ve been tried and hurt, but I won’t back down.  I’ve been blessed with so much, and I’ll continue learning, exercising, growing and trying harder.

Maybe losing weight would be easier if I still felt miserable and unsettled.  Maybe I’d be closer to my goal now if I still hated myself.  Maybe I’d be skinnier if I lived in fear of food.   Who knows?  I do know that it’s okay to be happy and that my flaws and failures alone don’t define me.  While I’ve tried and failed so many times, I’ve also changed and grown every time.

I no longer mind being on this journey because the things I’ve experienced along the way have made my life worth living.  I’m looking forward to another year of change and growth and happiness.

Thanks for being here with me……

 

 

 

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    mary
    July 5, 2013 at 12:04 am

    on ward and up wards baby girl….happiest of birthdays to you!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 5, 2013 at 12:25 am

      Thanks, Mary!

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  • Reply
    Dre
    July 5, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Happy birthday, Kenlie! You are a great person and I’m lucky to know you. We all are. <3

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 5, 2013 at 12:25 am

      I feel the same way about you, Dre! xoxoxo

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  • Reply
    Sarah
    July 5, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Happy Birthday!

    I wish I had the right words…. I continue to believe in you. You are a far cry from the woman I met turning 30… Positive change is a process. you know that. xo

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 5, 2013 at 1:29 am

      You may or may not fully understand how much that means to me….<3 <3 <3

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  • Reply
    Renee @pinkypie
    July 5, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Happy birthday my love! The journey is never really over and it’s so much more than just weight loss related. Personally I think it’s better to be in a place where you are happy and believe in yourself than to have a perfect body. You are so much more than our outside shell.

    Acceptance is good, it’s complacency you want to watch out for.

    Love you Kenlie! Good times ahead for you! xxxx

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Love you too, Pinky…<3

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  • Reply
    Marc A.
    July 5, 2013 at 1:52 am

    Although I haven’t known you very long, your words resonate as a woman who has evolved. Even though the victories haven’t been on the scale as much, you’re still a success as well as work in progress. I admire you for learning to love yourself along the way and not just saving it for the final destination. We can all use that lesson and reminder.

    I think you’re beautiful, at whatever your goal size is and right this damn moment, you are beautiful! Happy Birthday!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      You just made me smile big…thank you, Marc.

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  • Reply
    Patty
    July 5, 2013 at 5:54 am

    What a beautiful post to honor yourself on this special day!

    Happy birthday my friend. Enjoy every moment of it 🙂

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks, love!

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  • Reply
    Lorraine
    July 5, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Love this post, a great one to celebrate yourself. Have a blast on your Birthday!!

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  • Reply
    Dacia
    July 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Happy Birthday! You’re fabulous!

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  • Reply
    Chris
    July 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Happy Birthday!

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  • Reply
    Lisa
    July 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    HaPpY bIrThDaY tO yOu,
    hApPy BiRtHdAy To YoU,
    happy birthday dear kenlieeeeeeeee
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      What an awesome virtual performance! Thanks Lisa! =)

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  • Reply
    Angela L.
    July 5, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Happy Birthday wishes to you…. mine is coming up in a few days, however I’m quite a few more years older than you…. Just remember during the rough times in our struggle with weight, you’re NEVER alone (going thru it with you)! Keep your chin up and keep moving because getting a handle on this is SO much easier now in the years before you hit the big 40! Hope you have a beautiful, blessed day!!!

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  • Reply
    Heather
    July 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Happy birthday – I hope you have a great day!

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  • Reply
    Jenn
    July 5, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Happiest birthday, Kenlie…you are beautiful and strong and have a happy life ahead of you. So glad you are enjoying it as you are living it, you deserve it!!

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  • Reply
    Alyssa
    July 6, 2013 at 12:14 am

    So thankful you were one of the first weight loss bloggers I ever read and that I’ve been able to have a friendship with you that blossoms and grows. You rock!!! 🙂

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      I’m so thankful for you too, Alyssa. I’m looking forward to all of the good things that are ahead for the two of us too. YOU rock! 🙂

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  • Reply
    Laurie
    July 6, 2013 at 3:13 am

    Happy Birthday, Kenlie! I think it’s a good thing to take stock of yourself around such a milestone. I’m proud of you. You’ve accomplished so much and there’s more awesome on the horizon for you.

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  • Reply
    Tracy
    July 6, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Self-acceptance is the most important part of weight loss, I think. And not giving up! 🙂 So don’t worry. It’ll happen in time.

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  • Reply
    Brooke
    July 7, 2013 at 11:22 am

    My work is providing a health program for us and it includes a “health coach” to talk to. I got my initial call this past week and she went over my “health” results from my blood test (all good I have to say). I told her that I have been maintaining a 32lb weight loss for 4 years. She asked why I wanted to lose that weight and I told her it was because I felt uncomfortable in my body. She asked me why I haven’t made anymore progress. And I paused for a moment and then I said, “I guess I’m comfortable where I’m at…..for now.”

    Now saying I’m comfortable where I’m at sounds ridiculous to medical, science and other health professionals (as well as those who have been on a weight loss journey and have been successful) b/c I’m still 321lbs. But its me and mine and no one elses’ so it really doesn’t matter what they think.

    You motivate yourself how you want, when you want and they way you want. You will do it. I know you will.

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  • Reply
    Sarah G
    July 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Happy Birthday!!

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