Author Archives: Kenlie

Progress Pictures and Goals

When I think about the fact that I’ve lost 70 pounds over the last few months it doesn’t feel real, then I look at myself in the mirror. It’s impossible to deny that I’m smaller, and it feels so good to have some pep in my step again.

I’ve always been aware of my size, but I’m hyper aware of it now. I’m sure that’s because it’s changing. My weight-loss feels so slow, but I’m averaging a solid 20 pounds a month (a little more actually.) That’s a lot more than I was capable of prior to surgery, and I’m finally at the point where I can honestly say that I’d go through it again if I had to.

I’m so far away from an average weight. It’s happening slower than I thought it might happen too, but I don’t care. I look and feel better than I have in years, and that’s worth more to me than arbitrary numbers.

I’m making real and significant progress, and food matters less than it used to. That’s good enough for me, though I’m definitely looking forward to continued progress.

Earlier this week Michael and I went out with friends to celebrate his 30th birthday, and I ordered a chicken taco salad.

It’s hard to go out to dinner with friends because my brain is still programmed to eat more than I can eat, but it has gotten a lot easier over the last month. When I’m at home it’s easy to just put my plate away, but it’s much more challenging when I continue sitting at the table with my food in front of me.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to discipline myself, in that, I’m not overeating. When I start to feel full I stop because I have no interest in making myself sick and/or stretching my stomach prematurely.

My friend, Stacie, took progress photos of me today, and we took a selfie as well because…why not?

 

I’m so thankful that I feel like to hardest part of the surgical process is over. I’m seeing my surgeon again next week, and I have an appointment immediately following with the dietitian. The latter seems kind of pointless because I haven’t gotten much direction from her up to this point. I’ve figured out a lot of stuff on my own, but I plan to see her anyway. If it’s not helpful, it’ll be the last time.

I saw the surgeon three weeks after my surgery, and I’ve made significant progress since then. I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say about my progress and any tips he might have to make me even more successful.

I need to exercise more…period. I’m not doing enough walking, weight lifting, etc. I know that, but for a time it was more important to me to focus on taking all of my vitamins, consuming enough protein, etc. Now that I’m comfortably doing that it’s time to reintroduce more fitness. I’d love to get back to the point in which I took for granted that I’d workout everyday.

For now, I’m pleased with my progress, but I know I can and should do more. One day at a time….

 

 

End of the Year Reflections

I suppose the end of the year always makes me reflective, and this year is no different. Many of my friends are so glad that 2016 is almost over, and there’s something so hopeful about starting  a new year. I’m ready for that too, but 2016 was a great year for me.

At the end of 2015 I started going into an office everyday, and over a year later I had no idea that I could like that so much. I’ve always enjoyed being around people, but getting to work with the people I see everyday has added so much happiness to my life. I feel so much joy when I think about the people whose lives have been touched, and I feel thankful for those who’ve touched mine.

 

I struggled to let go of people who weren’t good for me at the end of 2015 too. Letting go of those people made it possible for me to meet someone who actually loves me.

I technically met Michael for the first time in December of 2015, but I started having feelings for him when we attended a Bible study together at the beginning of the year. That time of intimacy and healing among friends led me to fall in love with that man while allowing God to move in our lives and heal us from past hurts.

In the Spring I had the most terrifying experience of my life when Mom had, not one, but two strokes. I was so afraid of losing her for a while, but God was gracious once again. I knew at that point that I wasn’t turning away from Him, and I told Him that no matter what, I needed Him to continue holding me. God really showed off His strength in my weakness throughout that time, and my faith was renewed over and over as a result.

When the Summer came I got health insurance for the first time in a long while, and I found a new doctor who suggested that I have weight-loss surgery. My process was streamlined because of my experience with Weight Watchers, and on September 28th I went through with the surgery.

The surgery took much more out of me than I realized it would, and the healing process felt a little like hell on earth. I faced feelings of regret, fear and faced an unexpected lack of self-confidence. I was miserable for many weeks, but the weight started coming off. As hard as it was I am so thankful that I went through that process. I’m also thankful for the opportunities I have now to remind others that it will eventually be okay again…better than okay.

Throughout the post-op, healing process I was reminded how loved I am. My mom, Michael and a few friends did everything they could to make me happy and comfortable even when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was forced to recognize how loved I am for no reason other than people choose to love me. That was a pretty awesome realization.

Now I’m moving into 2017 planning a wedding to a man who makes my life feel like a Hallmark movie. Seriously though…we compliment each other well.  I don’t have dreams of a big, crazy wedding, but I can’t wait to get it done so I can wake up next to him everyday. I spent a big part of the afternoon researching venues and talking with friends who have gone through this process in the area. I think I may have found the perfect place, but I won’t know more until after the holidays (next week maybe.)

There’s so much to be thankful for at the end of each year, but this year has been pretty wonderful overall. It wasn’t all easy, but the positives outweighed the negatives for me.

I don’t think life is patterned in yearly segments, but I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings. I hope you are too.

Happy New Year!

 

Three Months and 68 Pounds

I had surgery three months ago yesterday, and I’m down 68 pounds since I started my pre-op, liquids phase. It seems like weight-loss is different for everyone, but I’m happy with my progress so far. 

Right now, I can eat one whole egg with part of a piece of toast, or I can eat about 1/4 of a small bowl of Pho. (That’s the only way I enjoy beef. It just takes too much effort to eat it now.) I can also eat about 2 ounces of chicken or pork in one meal, and one string cheese is enough to keep my full for a few hours.

I drink ISO 100 because I like it more than ISOpure. I also drink peanut butter Quest protein shakes with Fair Life milk. Drinking protein is the easiest way to ensure that I reach my daily protein goals. I can also drink sparkling water again too, which is awesome.

This year was easily the best holiday season I’ve ever had. I spent the week with family, got engaged, rode a train up Pike’s Peak and introduced Michael to my favorite people and one of my favorite places. I couldn’t have asked for more.

 

On Christmas Eve we dined at my sister’s house, and we spent Christmas evening at the home of her in-laws, who moved to Colorado recently. We had delicious food both nights, and even though I served myself tiny portions, I wasn’t able to try everything. There was so much food that I couldn’t even taste a lot of it.

It was hard to sit at the table while everyone else continued eating, but it was one of those rare moments when I didn’t push my plate away. I didn’t continue to either though. I just sat and enjoyed the company while reminding myself that if I ate too much I’d be uncomfortable. I don’t like getting to that point, so I try to avoid it.

I wished I could eat more than I did during those two meals, but when I got home and stepped on the scale I remembered that it’s worth it. I wasn’t able to try everything prepared for each of those meals, but by eating such limited portions I was able to lose several pounds over Christmas. That’s pretty cool.

We did some walking while I was there too. Michael proposed to me on a short hike with my mom, sister and brother-in-law, and we went for walks around the neighborhood with my sister because the weather was so awesome. It was cold and blistery outside, but I love that. 

There’s something about being in Colorado that makes me want to be more active. Maybe it’s the 315 days of sunshine that they see every year. Maybe it’s the crisp, clean air. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve dropped a fairly significant amount of weight since the last time I was there. (I know that was a factor.) Regardless of the reasons, I felt lighter on my feet and more active than I have in the last few years, and it was great. I’ll be there again in the Spring, and I wonder if I’ll feel even lighter and more active than I did on this trip.

These adjustments to life after weight-loss surgery haven’t been easy for me, but I’m happy to see and feel the changes in my body. It feels like I’m making some big, positive strides, which definitely makes it all worth it to enjoy a longer healthier life with my family and friends and my future husband.

 

 

If you’re reading this I hope you had a happy holiday season, and I wish you the best in 2017.

 

He Asked Me To Marry Him Today

It was nearly eight years ago when I started sharing the details of my life here, and throughout that time I’ve grown and changed so much that it would be hard to explain to a stranger. Let’s just say that it has been an incredible journey filled with ups and downs.

This year wasn’t easy, but overall, it has been one of, if not the best, in my life, and it got even better today. Michael asked me to marry him, and I said yes. 

I’ve prayed/wished/hoped/dreamed of being loved by a tall, strong, handsome, smart, Jesus-loving man who understands me and accepts me for as long as I can remember, and at the beginning of the year I found him.

We have been through some major life events together over the last year, and today added a pretty big milestone to that list.

I didn’t think this week with my family could get any better than it already was, but Michael proved me wrong. This was already the best Christmas season ever, and now it’s even better than that. I can’t believe I’m going to be Mrs. Michael. 😉

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays…

 

Chains Are Breaking

In my last post I briefly mentioned that I don’t feel so chained to my plate anymore, and I want to take a little time to explain what I mean.

chick-fil-a-nuggetsMy love for food makes it easy forget how much smaller my stomach is now. For instance, when I went to Chick-fil-a in the past I typically skipped the fries and drink and opted for the original chicken sandwich and an order of 8 chicken nuggets. It was easily justified in my mind because it was still less calories than fries and a drink.

Now, if I actually go to Chick-fil-a, I can eat 3 to 4 little nuggets, and that’s enough to keep me satisfied for at least a few hours. They’re protein-packed too, which is cool.

Last week I attended Shiftcon, and throughout the conference we were provided with healthy, shiftconbalanced meals. My stomach is smaller, but I still wanted to enjoy the food. I got the smallest portions I could, but I still found my plates to be far too full. That happens a lot, but now instead of torturing myself by trying to eat more than I should I just let it go.

The plate of food on the right looked delicious, and it was. I ate most of the chicken wing, a few bites of the fish and a few bites of the cabbage slaw. (I love cabbage!) I shared the rest of my food and let them take what I couldn’t eat.

I don’t like wasting food, nor does my leftovers loving boyfriend. I’m just learning that it’s better to eat it later, or let it go. My old, overeating normal wasn’t making me strong and healthy. It was making me gain weight and feel lethargic, but my new normal allows me to let it go.

shiftcon-2016I’ve lost 55 pounds in the last 10.5 weeks, and I’m feeling good about that. I eat more protein than anything else. I’m not avoiding any particular type of food, but am I learning that some foods just aren’t worth eating. For instance, I like bread and pasta, but right now it’s not worth my time to eat more than a bite of it (literally, one bite!) I ate a beignet from Cafe Dumonde with a good friend who was here over the weekend, but I learned that I’d rather have the coffee right now. And that’s okay with me.

I’m learning that I can eat whatever I want, just not at one time. Most of the time I’m content with a high-protein shake in the morning, chicken or pork in the afternoon or evening and a bite or two of other things (based on what’s available.)

I can’t express how good it feels to recognize the chains that are breaking in my life right now. I’ve been addicted to feeling overly full for so long that I didn’t realize how awesome it could feel to be satisfied, yet light on my feet.

I am starting to look at food now without feeling a need to eat all of it (whatever it is,) and that feels even better than dropping the 55 pounds I’ve shed so far.

I’m striving to be more active, and I’m seeing improvements there too. Instead of taking an Uber over the weekend I walked to the hotel for the conference. I also walked to a neighboring gym to bring cookies to a friend who was working there. I wouldn’t have done that six months ago. Actually, I wouldn’t have done that a month ago.

I feel less lethargic and more content than I’ve felt in years. I know that it’s a long, long road, but I’m finally happy/thankful/pleased to be on this path.

 

 

 

 

 

Date Night, Shiftcon and More…

Life has been pretty good over the last few weeks, but this has been one of the best weeks I’ve had in quite a while.

domenica-new-orleansTuesday night Michael and I went out for an early dinner at my favorite restaurant, which is located in the Roosevelt Hotel near my home. The food was delicious! I used to eat the majority of their thin pizza, but that night I was able to eat a small slice.

After dinner we walked into the lobby of the hotel because it’s always decorated beautifully at Christmas, and there were old-fashioned Christmas carolers singing all of my favorite tunes.

I also met Santa Claus that night, which was the highlight of the tree lighting! I’m pretty sure he was the real Santa too because he definitely looked the part.

santa-clausAfter the tree-lighting ceremony we walked back to my place to put our leftovers in the fridge, then we walked down to the Riverwalk. It’s only a few blocks from home too, so we stroll over there from time to time.

We stopped at the Riverwalk outlet mall and shopped. Okay, no…I shopped while Michael played Pokemon Go, and I was able to find the perfect Christmas gift for my dad.

It was also a healthy week for me, which makes me feel good. After hearing my primary doctor tell me that she’s “never seen anyone do so poorly” after weight-loss surgery I dropped another 6 pounds. I’ve added two since then, which brings me to 52 pounds lost since in the last 10 weeks. I’m not losing weight as quickly as I thought I would (or as quickly as others have lost,) but I’m losing. I’m not seeing it on the scale, but I’m feeling it in my clothes.

I bought a shirt last month that I couldn’t button yet hoping that it would fit by Christmas, but it fits now. I could wear it, but I have to drive an hour each way back to The Avenue because they forgot to remove the sensor. I’m glad I kept my receipt!

Now it’s the end of the week, and I spent the day at Shiftcon. I’ve been struggling to consume enough protein lately, but I resorted to drinking things that I don’t like. Thankfully, when I arrived at Shiftcon this morning I learned about a product called Vital Proteins, and it’s going to be a game changer for me.

The awesome folks at Vital Proteins sent me home with lots of unflavored protein that I can add to my coffee and most other things I consume, and it’s such a relief to know that I’ll have enough protein by the day’s end (without continuing to drink stuff that I find appalling.

There are so many awesome people and products at Shiftcon that I’m still a bit overwhelmed by it all (in a good way.) It was so nice to see my long time pal, Alyssa, and my fierce friend, Kia. We were Twitter partying together, which we’ll be doing again tomorrow at 4 pm. You should join us if you can to win some cool prizes!

shiftcon-twitter-party

Now I’m heading out again to have coffee with my friend, Amanda. I’m not ready for beignets, but it’s a great night for a warm and cozy drink.

I can’t wait to head back to Shiftcon tomorrow. I’m so glad it’s right here in my neighborhood because change is happening right in my backyard.

I’m feeling better than I have in months, maybe years. I feel smaller, healthier and lighter on my feet, and I’m starting to feel like this whole weight-loss surgery thing is working. I’m also working on exercising more, and this week I’ve really enjoyed it. (That’s a relief!)

 

 

 

Quiet, but Happy

I haven’t had much to say here lately. I’ve been busier than normal, which is a good thing because now I’m ready to relax and enjoy the holidays. I love this time of year!

I’ve been avoiding the scale for weeks now, and I’m happier that way. I know I must be losing pounds or inches or something because my clothes fit much better than they did, but I’m also retaining a lot of fluid this week.

When I spoke to the dietitian at my surgeon’s office a couple of weeks ago she told me to drink considerably more water than I had been drinking since surgery. I went from drinking about a gallon a day to drinking less than a bottle a day post-op. Now I’m drinking one to two bottles a day (at least,) but my goal is 4 bottles (or 64 oz.) I rarely reach that, but I’m starting to reach my protein goals on a daily basis, so I’m still making some progress.

This journey hasn’t been easy. I spent most of last month fighting feelings of anger and regret toward my choice to have surgery, but I’m over that now. I’ve made peace with my decision, and I seriously need to give it some time to work. I’m doing my best most days, which feels like enough right now.

A coupe of weeks ago I decided to focus on other things, and I’ve been much happier since then. I’ve gotten back to my old self, in that, I’m spending time with loved ones again, cooking, baking and enjoying work.

My Christmas tree is up thanks to my Christmas-loving boyfriend, who took time to pick it out and fluff it with me, and I’m almost finished with my holiday shopping.

My exercise restrictions were lifted last week, and my food restrictions are lifted this week. I don’t eat much at all, but I’m starting to get used to it. That’s been the weirdest adjustment so far. In fact, I may discuss that in a different post at some point.

Life is pretty good right now. I’m happy, and I have some big things to look forward to. The future is bright, and I’m thankful.

 

Hello, Normality

Last week was awesome. I felt good all week, and I am still feeling continued improvements on a daily basis. I went back to work last Monday, and being there made me feel so much better! It made me feel normal, which is something I had been craving lately.

kenlie-and-dadDad came into town on Tuesday. I was so happy to see him because it’s been almost a year since I was in Oklahoma. He was supposed to be in early afternoon, but due to delays he didn’t arrive until almost 7 pm. I worked until he arrived, then headed to the airport to pick him up once he landed. I didn’t realize how close my office is to the airport until last week, but that’s a good thing to know.

cafe-du-mondeI didn’t work Wednesday, so I could spend the day with Dad. We drove across the Causeway just because, and we had coffee at Cafe Du Monde every morning. Dad had beignets too, but oddly enough, I didn’t crave them at all. I seriously have not wanted anything sweet since I started the liquids phase prior to surgery, and that feels like a major win to me.

 

He met Michael the night he arrived, and we all drove to Mississippi to have dinner with Michael’s parents the following night. It was such a great evening, and it felt good to know that Dad really enjoyed his time with Michael’s family. Our dads chatted over dinner for hours, and I managed to eat two pieces of sushi.

kenlie-in-msI ordered a naruto roll, which was filled with spicy crab and wrapped in cucumber. I didn’t eat the cucumber, but I did manage to eat the inside of two pieces. I also ate a shrimp, a scallop and a few bites of zucchini that Michael and his mom shared with me.

We all laughed when we saw the picture we took together after dinner because Michael’s dad doesn’t smile in photos. Michael joked that catching his dad smiling in a photo is like seeing Big Foot. My mom and I are spending Thanksgiving with them, so maybe I’ll have to tell him jokes. I’ll just need to come up with a few funny ones first.

On Thursday I had to work, so I brought Dad to the office with me. My space was being renovated (because I have an awesome director who recognized that I needed more room,) but it was cool to show Dad where I work. I even tried out my new desk and chair while he was there. That afternoon I had to attend a networking thing, so Dad went to that with me too. I kept apologizing that we had to go to the meeting, but Dad actually enjoyed himself a lot. I think we both learned a few things too.

Later that evening Dad joined me for rehearsal at church. I’m a vocal leader on the worship team, and it was so good to be back in rehearsal with my people. Dad got to visit with my pastor for a few minutes, then I took him to Trader Joe’s for the first time. After that, Michael joined us at my place for dinner.

Dad flew back to Oklahoma on Friday morning. I dropped him off at the airport then headed into the office. When I got there my boss, who is also one of the best friends I’ve ever had, thought I had gone in to work, but my plan was to exercise. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of exercising, but she insisted that I exercise instead. Everyone in the office felt that way. (How cool is it to work in an uplifting environment that also has a state of the art gym on site?) I walked around the track because the treadmill still makes me nervous for some reason, then I worked.

By the end of the week I was beat, but I still had a weekend to enjoy. I spent Friday night at home, and friends stopped by for a few minutes. I spent Saturday with Mom, and we shopped in a town that’s about an hour away from each of us. I bought a pair of jeans that was a size smaller than I expected, and I bought a few other fall items that were on clearance. (Why pay full price when my size is, apparently, changing?)

On Sunday I lead worship at church for the first time in weeks, and it felt so good to be back. Singing is one of my passions, serving Jesus and one of my passions, and I love connecting people with Him. I missed doing it, and even though I was a little more tired than usual, I jumped right back in. The entire worship experience was awesome, and after that I spent the day with Michael’s family. This time they came to New Orleans, and we had a great day. We went to dinner last night, where I ate a few bites of delicious food. I also spent a lot of time talking and trying not to eat too quickly.

I’m happy to say that I tolerated the foods I tried all week. My weight-loss seems to be stalled, but there’s not much I can do about that, apart from being more active and practicing patience. I’m adding to my step count each day, but I know that I need to be more intentional about walking. The treadmill still makes me nervous, but I made an exercise date with a friend tomorrow. She’s going to meet me at work, and we’re going to walk together.

After a relaxing Monday, in which I planned out my week and some holiday events, I am heading back into the office tomorrow. I’m progressing enough that I’m starting to feel good about it, but I am still dealing with emotions. (More on that later.)

I greatly appreciate every kind and supportive comment and all of the prayers and encouragement while I was healing. If you took the time to be there for me, then I sincerely thank you.

Let’s hope this is the beginning of my newer, healthier life…

 

Finally! Happy Monday!

I feel so much better! It’s been almost a month since my surgery, and I finally feel like myself again. I’m walking more, spending time with friends and getting back to normal. I’m even going into the office for a while today.

It hasn’t been easy, but it seems like the hardest part is over. Now I just need to continue trusting the process, being patient and living my life without focusing on the scale for a while. I think if I do those things, my weight will decrease without me worrying about it.

The last several days have been good, and I’m so incredibly thankful for it.

 

The Next Chapter

This process is still frustrating, but I feel so much better this week. The last few days have been mostly good, and I finally feel like I’m getting back to normal. I plan to go back to work, at least a little next week, and I think that will help me feel some normality too.

Yesterday my incredibly patient boyfriend and I walked around Audubon Park at my speed. Tortoises could have passed me on the track, but it felt so good to be moving that I didn’t care. I exceeded 10,000 steps for the first time since surgery.

Today my new bed arrived, which is exciting. I mentioned recently that Michael loves his king-size Tempurpedic bed and that my queen-size queen spring mattress needed to be replaced. The delivery guys showed up early, which was awesome. It was so weird and awesome to lie down on it and let it conform to my body. Now we both have awesome beds, and I’m seriously looking forward to going to sleep tonight.

Overall, things are looking up. It’s still frustrating that I can’t eat things, but in about a month all of my restrictions will be lifted. Right now I’m drinking lots of protein and eating Greek yogurt. In the coming week I plan to try oatmeal, potatoes and bananas. I obviously won’t be able to eat much of any of it, but I’m looking forward to having more options.

I’ve been home for a little over three weeks, and it’s been difficult and emotional. I’m so thankful for my family, my boyfriend and a few close friends. I know I’ve already said it, but Mom and Michael made this so much easier than it would have been. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this without them.

I feel pretty disconnected from everyone else right now, but I’m looking forward to jumping back into life and seeing what’s ahead in this next chapter.