Category Archives: Body Image

Birth Control for Overweight Women

The wedding is less than two months away, and while Michael and I agree that we’d love to have a kid (or two) we’d like to wait a while on that.

I’m still adjusting to my post-surgical life, and he’s studying for the CPA exams he still needs to finish. He’s moving into my place once we’re married, and while all of the changes are good, they’re overwhelming enough for now.

We know that God will have His way, and we’re cool with that. We’re just going to do our part to walk out the path in front of us.

Birth control is a little scary, in my opinion. The idea of taking a daily pill that could mess with my hormones (emotions, weight, etc) and be considerably less effective due to my weight doesn’t seem like a good choice. It’s not going to happen. Condoms are awful too. I’ve been waiting for a long, long time to marry a loving, loyal, honorable, Jesus-loving man, and I’m going to enjoy it. Condoms = Nope!

Being overweight makes many things more complicated, but when I talked to the doctor about it she suggested seeing an OB/GYN who agreed with her that I should have an IUD. It’s the most effective for plus-size people, and it shouldn’t affect my hormones at all. Win!

I realize that there are risks associated with birth control, but I understand the very real risks that come from not trying to protect ourselves at all.

When I walked into my OB/GYN’s office the doctor and nurse put me at ease right away. I’ve avoided annual exams for several years because of discrimination and (mostly) my insecurity, and now I realize that there are some pretty great doctors out there. I’m thankful I’ve found a few in the last year.

Dr. C patiently explained what he was going to do and why, and it was over before I knew it. I’m spending more time in that office than I’d like to right now because my pap results came back abnormally, but again, I trust that God has a plan and has already handled whatever comes my way.

A month from now I’ll go in for the IUD procedure.

Has anyone here had an IUD? Was it effective for you, or did you find a better solution?

I’ve Finally Lost Enough To Wear Jeans from Lane Bryant

I’m sitting at my laptop with a glass of sparkling water after a lovely day with Michael and Mom, and I want to talk about clothes right now. It’s crazy to think that I had to lose nearly 100 pounds before being able to wear jeans from Lane Bryant, but that’s reality. It’s sad, but true.

The number on the scale finally seems to be moving again, at least a little, and I’m knocking on the door of 100 pounds lost. There’s something about that number that makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, particularly since I’m so close to it at my 6-month mark. I’m not sure if I’ll hit that number goal before March 28th. Actually, I don’t know if I’ll even weigh in on that day because I already feel like I’m experiencing success.

Michael and I went to Mom’s house recently, and I pulled out several pairs of jeans that haven’t fit in the last several years. There are some that are still one size too small, but several of them already fit again. I even have a couple pairs from Avenue that are smaller in size. (I’m thankful they were around when nothing from LB worked!)

The number inside the jeans doesn’t matter too much though. It’s just a good feeling to know I’m back on a healthier track, and it’s even cooler to see the evidence of that in my clothing! A couple of weeks ago I cleaned out my closet and got rid of several bags of clothes that are too big now. Whew!

Now I need to find tops. I love tunics and long cardigans because they typically make me feel more put together than a simple shirt. I also have a long torso, so it can be challenging finding shirts that are long enough even when they fit everywhere else.

I am currently using GwynnieBee to supplement my wardrobe. I wear dresses to work frequently, and I love closeting items that are a size smaller than the last ones. I seriously need to take pictures in the dresses because several of them have been adorable! They’re great for dresses, but I rarely closet tops there because I like to have complete outfits when my boxes arrive. Does anyone else here use GwynnieBee?

It’s hard to express how good it feels to wear clothes that were way too small. I regretted gaining too much weight to wear them for quite some time, but now I choose to focus on the fact that I’m getting smaller and feeling healthier once again.

Now I’m going to finish my relaxing glass of sparkly and prepare for a long day at the office tomorrow.

 

 

Plus Size Fitness Instructor? Yep…That’s Me…

Life is filled with ups and downs, and there was a time when I blogged about them in real time. Now I spend less time online and more time thinking through situations, praying about them and venting less.

Right now, life is mostly good for Michael and me, but many people around us are hurting. Nothing good can come from sharing those hurts here, but I’m doing what I can to show support and offer love to those around me whether I know them or not.

One of the major ways I do that is through work. I do membership and marketing stuff, and I spend most of my days visiting with people who are striving to become healthier or hoping to start. I encourage kids with special needs to be creative, and I get a lot of fulfillment from loving others. I may not always do it well, but I definitely do my best.

One facet of my job is to bring in families, individuals and even corporate members. I strive to connect with everyone and to make them feel welcome. Often times it works, but once in a while there’s a perspective member who never makes it in. They’re often women who feel like they’ll be judged if they walk into the gym, and I understand that because I was one of those women for a long, long time.

I speak to plus-size women who have been shamed, as well as women who fear being shamed. I always ask them to take a chance on me. “Come in and visit with me face-to-face. You’ll feel so much better when you do.”

There’s nothing more satisfying to hear from a member than what I heard from one of my favorites recently.” She said, “Thank you for helping me see that life is worth living.” I can’t tell you how emotional I am just writing this now…knowing that somewhere in New Orleans a lady who didn’t always know her worth knows it now. (Thank you, God, for using me in that situation!)

Helping people see that who they are is okay has been my mission since I learned that who I am is okay, and I’m ready to take that to the next level now.

I recently completed group fitness certification, and I’m gearing up to teach a class that I’ve created with help from my guy.

I’m doing a demo class next week, and I hope to officially launch in mid-April. (That’ll depend on the rate of choreography and memorization that I out it, but I think it’s a realistic goal.)

My class, which will be formatted specifically for plus-size people (even though everyone is welcome) will allow me to uplift and encourage people like me who need it, and I can’t wait to start.

I’ve spent some serious time putting this together, and now I’m working through the routines – making sure I know them inside out, nailing transitions and working on cues. I haven’t spent so many hours sweating and smiling since I exercised with Richard Simmons and friends in L.A.

Richard is completely off the radar now, and I hope and pray that he doing well.

He helped me change the way I looked at myself, and he helped me understand that I could embrace fitness. It hasn’t been an easy journey for me, but I’m still here trying.

I know that Richard would encourage me to keep striving to be healthy because he did that throughout the time that I did know him. I can’t think of a better way to honor him that by encouraging someone else the way he encouraged me and countless others, and I wish he still emailed, called or tweeted me so I could tell him thank you again.

I’m pretty positive that I was made to do this, and I love it so much already. I’m excited to take this next step giant leap in my own fitness while helping others do the same. 

 

 

 

Fat Shaming Is A Thing, But It’s Not A Helpful Thing

Fat shaming has never made anyone healthy…ever. I doubt that it has ever made anyone skinny either, and before I go any further, I want to highlight the fact that these adjectives are not synonymous with each other.

Being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy, and being fat doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re unhealthy. My blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, resting heart rate, etc. is all excellent now. There are a lot of risk factors associated with someone my  size, but you can’t judge a person’s health based on how they look.

You can’t look at me and know that I significantly reduced my chances of having a heart attack or stroke by dropping a significant amount of weight or that I exercised today, nor can you know that I’ve struggled to keep a lot of it off because of thoughts that swirl around in my mind. You can’t know the reasons why.

One of a few significant reasons is that I allowed an airline’s perception of me to take up space in my mind. I allowed one seemingly disgruntled gate agent’s blanket prejudice to define me long after his hurtful comments were an old headline in the news, and it didn’t cause me to lose weight. I didn’t thrive off of the negative attention that followed his comments either; I caved.

I take responsibility for that. I am the only one who can make a decision to change or to let others define me, and I accept that. It’s all on me to change what I need to change for myself, but if fat shaming worked I’d be skinny by now.

On of the reasons that I stopped blogging as much is that I no longer wished to put myself on a chopping block for trolls who think I shouldn’t exist or that I don’t have a right to share my story because I’m obese. That’s nonsense, of course, but eradicating that negativity has been good for me.

I’ve been quiet here for quite some time. I’ve shared opinions, pissed people off and taken a break, but that break is over because it’s time to stand with other voices and to say, Hey, it’s none of your beeswax if I’m fat or not. Your opinion of me doesn’t define me; it defines you.”

kenlie

I’m not skinny…not even close, but I love myself.

I’m lucky to have a supportive group of people in my life who love me and accept me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to undo the damage that I allowed to take root in my heart and mind when I allowed society’s opinions to define who I was.

I gained a significant amount of weight that I had lost, and I’ve felt a lot of shame as a result. Never has that led to a lower number on the scale. It doesn’t work that way, nor should it.

The last few weeks have been healthier and more successful for me because I’m enjoying my life. I’m reclaiming a lot of the confidence I lost thanks to my friends and family, a significant other who loves to remind me that I’m brilliant and sexy, and I’m making healthier decisions because it makes me feel good (not because people think I should feel bad.)

I don’t hate myself, so that will never be a driving force in my fight for better health. I exercised today because I value my life. I shopped for groceries and prepared for a healthy week of meals because I want to be around for a long time to love people, and I can only hope (and assume) that these small positive steps will lead to other positive steps.

If you truly care about my health go for a walk in the park with me, or take me to lunch and order something healthy and delicious. There are people in my life who do that. There are people who want me around for a long time, and they offer support, not criticism.

I’m not going to link to that newest fat shaming video that’s making its way around the internet  because plenty of others are doing that. I don’t know when it became acceptable to spew hatred on social media, but I do know that there’s no end in sight.

I do know that the responsibility for my life falls on me, not on a skinny girl who could benefit from some acting classes or a gate agent who was probably having a really crappy day. I get to decide what I’m worth. I’m just sorry that I didn’t always know that.

At our core, we’re all the same. We desire to be loved and accepted (even the jerks who spew hatred…especially the jerks who spew hatred.) One important lesson I’ve learned is that I’m lovable, and I don’t have to care if others agree with that or not.

 

 

 

 

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.

Seeking Validation and Instant Gratification

We all like to feel validated, and some of us need it more than others.  I used to be among the neediest people I knew, and as I sat with Jeff and Shannon last night at Starbucks, we reflected on the changes we’ve all gone through over the last year.

Jeff got married, and Shannon met someone worthy of an exclusive relationship with her.  We’ve all taken different steps, but we’ve all grown. My relationships with God and people are significantly different than they were one year ago.

I talk about it a lot here – I know who God is.  I know what He did for me (in sending Jesus to pay the ultimate price for me and save me from myself,) and knowing that gives me peace, hope and validation that never existed before.

I still like attention, but I don’t need it anymore.  Now my biggest struggle comes from my need for instant gratification.  Whether I’m shopping or eating or dating, I find myself looking for the quickest way to achieve all of the fast, happy feelings.

My need for instant gratification has become evident over the last several years, but I never considered the possibility that it was tied to my weight gain.  It makes perfect sense, of course, and now I have to figure out how to replace the desire for immediate gratification with the contentment that I’ve experienced in other areas of my life.

I don’t know how to combat this issue yet, but I do know that there has to be a way.  I know that I should pray about it, but I haven’t yet.  I’ve become so accustomed to feeling like a failure in weight-loss, that it has become an excuse to stay this way.

I want to continue to change even though it doesn’t always feel good, and I want to learn to be content with everything that I’m already lucky enough to have.

Does anyone else struggle with the need for instant gratification?

 

 

Beauty Pageants…Really?

If you read my blog, you already know that I wish I was skinnier/prettier, and it’s also no secret that I’m doing what it takes to make that happen.  I wish that I looked good in a swim suit or a form-fitting evening gown…I wish that I was half as pretty as some of the ladies who participated in the Miss America pageant over the weekend.  That’s the truth, and I admit it. </disclaimer>

After football just became too painful to watch, I found myself watching a portion of Miss America, and it left me feeling disgusted, smug and aggravated (just as it does anytime I witness a beauty pageant.)  Some of the ladies, most of whom were outwardly beautiful, sang songs about going to Disneyland during the talent portion while others gave bubblegum-type answers that I’d expect from tweens about the problems facing our nation.  But it doesn’t matter how ridiculous or out of touch these ladies are because they’re pretty, right?

My niece is outwardly beautiful, and if I had a daughter, I’d want the same for her.  I wouldn’t want her to struggle with obesity or her body image the way I struggle with mine, but I also wouldn’t want her to think that her looks alone define her.  And I wouldn’t want her to believe that looking hot in a bikini makes her “healthy” as they have portrayed in the the Miss America pageant.  That part really, really disgusted me.  Note to society: Being skinny does not make you physically fit!

I concede that maybe my perspective on beauty pageants could change as my body continues to change, but I don’t think it will.  I believe that women can and should be taken as seriously as men at work, at home, etc.  And I don’t think that’s likely to happen while they’re parading around on a stage wearing crowns or swim suits and stilettos.

I know that it’s my choice to watch or turn it off, and that’s what I did because witnessing weird and outdated contests that suggest that a woman’s most important job is to be skinny and pretty, makes me want to puke.  And changing “beauty pageant”  to “scholarship pageant” doesn’t make it any less vile.

How do you feel about beauty pageants?  Do you watch beauty pageants?  Do you think they’re awesome?  Outdated?

 

 

Turning It Around

I’ve been feeling pretty pathetic over the last few days.  I tracked my food intake, but I didn’t eat the types of food that make me feel good.  I ate lots of fruits and veggies, but I also ate processed crap that leaves my stomach feeling bloated. I went straight from fighting a cold to nursing a foot injury, and it left me feeling like a giant underachiever.

My foot still hurts, but it doesn’t hurt so badly that I can’t workout so I knew it needed to happen today.  I didn’t need to run or do 45 minutes of butt-kicks, but I needed to get my heart pumping so I did.  When my friend, Kelly, exchanged text messages this afternoon, I committed to working out tonight so I decided to do something simple – Level 1 of the 30-Day Shred.  It’s one of my stand-by workouts so I did it then my friend, Megan,  showed up at the neighbor’s house and challenged me to do Level 3 with her so I did that too. I did over 50 minutes of circuit training, and it felt great!

Not sure what happened with my friend's camera, but you get the idea, right?

I was in a whiny, self-loathing, lethargic  mood until I started working out.  And almost immediately, my mood changed.  Instead of concentrating on my faults, I started feeling strong and athletic.  And during the second circuit of level 3, I realized that I could do more than I could last time!  I was even able to do the side planks near the end of the workout.

I’m not sure why it’s so hard to remember that a sweaty workout can change my mood almost instantly, but I’m happy to have remembered today.  My body needed a workout, and my mind needed to be released from the negativity that has tried to work its way in during the last 48 hours.  I’m thankful for friends like Kelly, Megan and Britt who challenge me when I need it. (Meg, our pics so didn’t turn out. We’ll have to workout again with one of our cameras. hehe)

Sometimes this lifestyle can be a battle, but I’m winning.  I am not a quitter.  I am strong, and I will continue doing what I have to do to be a little better each day.  And today, that’s enough.

On a different note, you can now subscribe to my blog (you know, if you want to.)  I’d love it and appreciate it so take a minute to make me smile.  If you have previously signed up through Blogger then I thank you, but you’ll no longer receive update there.

I hope everyone is having a productive and healthy week!

 

 

Will I Ever Be Hot? (Uh, Don’t Answer That)

Looking in the mirror is supposed to be easier after losing weight, isn’t it?  And in truth, it is much easier to look at myself than it was, but I’m still aware that I’m not pretty by societal standards.  And that leaves me feeling insecure – some days more than others. 

So when someone calls me pretty or beautiful – which seems to be happening a lot lately, it’s hard to imagine that they’re not a) feeling sorry for me or b) patronizing me.   In my mind, I see myself as someone who has the potential to be pretty – you know, after I lose another seventy pounds or so.  And, believe it or not, that’s a big improvement in my self image, but I long for the day that I feel fine (dare I say like) about what I see.  I often wonder if that day will ever come.

I feel cuter more often than before.  I dress well and my smaller clothes are much more flattering.   I know that I’ll reach my physical goals, but will I feel pretty then?  Will I look at myself and think “yeah, I see a cute person on the outside now.”  I don’t aspire to become full of myself, but I do aspire to feel satisfied with my looks.  And I wonder if I ever will. 

Time will tell…

Sex and the Shrinking Girl

Talking about sex is considered taboo at times so I usually stay away from the subject, but at this point in my life, I feel like it’s okay to discuss it.  I don’t have a boyfriend nor am I dating anyone so there are no feelings to consider or egos to protect.  Instead, I finally feel free to share my thoughts on the physical.  If you’re prude and/or easily offended (or if you were present at my birth) I still value you…please just come back tomorrow.  =)

I’m almost 5’4″, and at my heaviest weight I tipped the scales at nearly 400 pounds.  And while being intimate with someone wasn’t impossible, it was far from sexy…and even further from reality.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I looked in the mirror and hated the girl I saw.  Recently, I described my former reflection as a stranger that I didn’t want to get to know.  When I looked at myself I saw someone who had given up, and I resented her.  I believed she was disgusting, and I believed that everyone else thought she was disgusting too. And many did.

Someone in my past even confirmed my fears by openly and respectfully (as respectfully as one can be when they’re telling you that you’re a complete turn off)  and apologetically shared that while he was attracted to other qualities he found my body repulsive.

In the beginning I didn’t blame him.  My reasoning was that if I didn’t like the way I looked then I couldn’t expect him to like it either, but somewhere along this journey my thoughts on this began to change.  I’m still overweight, but I no longer loathe myself.  And I no longer think that it’s okay to accept that someone loves me knowing he doesn’t love all of me.

After parting ways the man who shall forever remain nameless, I sought out relationships with others in a subconscious attempt to prove to myself that others thought I was attractive now.  I just wanted, perhaps needed to believe that someone thought I was beautiful after feeling as though I was broken for so long.  I needed to know that I wasn’t damaged goods.  I needed to know that it could be good again, and it was.

But after a string dates late last year (some good and some kind of horrible) I know that it’s okay to be alone now. I know now that there are guys on the planet who think I’m pretty, and I know that’s not as important as I thought it was for a while.  I also know that while there’s still a lot of work to do on the outside, there’s plenty to do on the inside too.  And being proud of myself on the inside is just as important (if not more important) than being proud of the outside.

As I said, I am not dating anyone right now, and while I enjoy kissing handsome boys and changing my Facebook status to “in a relationship” it’s not time.  It’s strange to say this, but I don’t mind as much as I thought I would.  This is a breakthrough moment coming from the girl who had her first crush at 6 years old and has had one ever since. 😉

We all know that my body is changing, but my mind is changing in ways that it never has before.  I want to be loved someday for who I am…not who I’m pretending to be or who I wish I could be.  There are people reading this blog who know the specifics (and a few who think they do) throwing stones from their glass houses, and to those people I say “Hey…I’m working on it, and if that’s not enough then too bad.”

I’m actively trying to change, and that’s the best I can do today. And while everyone else has probably known how important it is to face our inner issues all along, I’m proud of myself for seeing the importance of this now.  Maybe it’s not too late for me after all…