Facing the Fat

I’ve experienced some ups and downs since my last post, but I recognize what I have to do in order to be happy with myself. I’m still lacking motivation to exercise, but I’m doing it anyway. I know that if I keep trudging through that I’ll be glad I did.

I spent most of the weekend at Mom’s house, and I saw family and friends that I don’t get to see everyday, and it highlighted how different I look and feel than I did last year.

Mom has dropped over 50 pounds since February, and our family friend, Linda, has dropped 50 pounds as well. I gained about that much, but they weren’t judgmental because they understand how tough it is.

I know that I have an opportunity to change what I don’t like about myself. I know that I don’t have to choose between being physically healthy and emotionally healthy, and I’m working on improving physically right now because I’ve come so far emotionally over the last couple of years.

I’m eating more vegetables, drinking fewer sugary drinks and dragging myself to the gym. I know that eventually I’ll get back to the place in which I crave the endorphin rush, and I hope it happens soon because I’m tired of feeling like this.

As we close out 2014, I’m holding onto hope that I’ll feel different by this time next year…

 

 

 

Giving Thanks and Showing Thanks

I spend a lot of time being thankful for all of the good things in my life, and as the weather gets cooler and the pumpkins start showing up everywhere, I find myself feeling even more thankful for everything in my life.

I’ve been very open about my struggles lately, and one of the best ways that I’ve found to navigate through difficult times is to be thankful for all of the positive things.

I know it’s not the holiday season yet, but I’m starting early with thankfulness this year.  I want to make a positive impact on the people around me too, so I’m getting a head start now.  Here’s a list of things that I plan to do to take the focus off of me and to affect people positively over the next few months:

  • Write a letter to someone on paper or a card, put a stamp on it and mail it.  I love sending and receiving letters and cards in the mail, and one thing that I’m thankful for is that I have friends who enjoy sending cards and thoughtful little gifts.
  • Spend time with someone who may not love this time of year.  I love the holidays, but there are people who don’t feel that way.   Sometimes the holidays remind us of people we’ve lost and/or people who won’t be here to celebrate with us.
  • Spend the afternoon (or at least a couple of hours) in a coffee shop or bookstore simply to enjoy the surroundings.  I do this a lot, but I still wish I did it more often.  I’ve met some awesome people who have amazing stories that I might never have met without taking time to look up from my computer.  (I need to do the latter more, as I am currently sitting in a coffee shop…looking at my computer. Ha.)
  • Take a moment to think about the little things that make life good.  I write a lot, and I think I enjoy it because it helps me focus in on my thoughts, as I have a tendency to think about a million things at once.  This year, instead of filling my glass pumpkin with candy, I am filling it with fall-colored notes about my reasons to be thankful. I did it last year, and now it’s definitely a thing.  One note says, “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the worship team at NOLA Church.”  Another says, “I’m thankful for my apartment, its location and the things in it.”  Some of the notes are about really big things while other are small, but when I look at the pumpkin which is stuffed full of blessings, I’m thankful for that too.

Pumpkin

  • Share something you have with a friend.  I like crafty things and baking so making something for someone just because will make everyone feel good.
  • Compliment someone everyday.  I’m pretty good at this already.  I tend to say what I think (when it’s positive) so it’s not weird for me to tell someone what I like about them.  I know that when someone takes time to compliment me, it means a lot.  I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

I’m not saying that focusing on the positive will eliminate every issue we have, but it will go a long way toward helping us get through it.  Last week in class, my professor said, “Optimism isn’t something that you have; it’s something that you do,” and I’m doing it.

 

Does God Care That I’m Fat?

There’s no commandment in The Bible that says, “Thou shalt exercise daily,” but there is definitely a commandment that says to put God first. I’ve been thinking about what that means as I continue to grow in my relationship with Him, and I find myself wondering whether or not I’m committing idolatry. The answer is most definitely yes, at least sometimes, and I want to change that.

Gluttony is a sin.  Too often I find myself overindulging and putting the desire to eat above my desires for other things – including God. I’ve had to repent over this more than once or twice, and it’s still a struggle that I deal with almost everyday.

Luckily, in Romans 8:38-39, it is clear that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God loves me even though I’m plus-size. Whew! I’m even more thankful for that than I am for His grace. It still amazes me when I think about how much Jesus loves me, and with that, I believe that He wants what’s best for me.

I don’t think that doing what is “best for me” means that I need to be a size zero. I don’t even think it means that I need to be a size 8, even though that would be cool. I’m not sure what it means in terms of precise numbers, but I know that some things still need to change.

It has been almost two weeks since I had a sugary drink from Starbucks. I committed to going 30 days without indulging in an iced caramel macchiato (or anything else that isn’t plain coffee or tea,) and it hasn’t been a difficult as I thought it would be. The lack of doughnuts in my life hasn’t been as difficult as I thought either, but there’s a lot more than I need to change.

Yesterday my friend, Tracey and I, had one of those awesome conversations about life that you can only have with people you trust completely, and she suggested asking God to give me the willingness to make better choices everyday. Maybe at some point I’ll have the courage to ask Him. Right now, in all honesty, I’m scared of failing and scared of succeeding.

I don’t know how God feels in regards to what I should weigh, but I do know that what He wants is all of me. He wants everything that I am – the good and the bad. It’s easier to give Him the good stuff because letting go of the tough stuff means having to trust Him. I’m working on that, but it’s not easy…not even a little bit.

When I look at myself through the lens of God’s character, I can only conclude that He wants me to put Him first – before caramel macchiatos, before doughnuts, before money, before relationships…He wants me to be healthy.

It’s always hard to admit how weak I am, but maybe that’s exactly what I need to do. My favorite passage in The Bible is 2 Corinthians 12:9, in which Paul says, But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I guess that means that I need to embrace my weaknesses and continue to let God work in me. I know that I need to invite Him into this situation. That’s what prayer is, then I have to ask Him to give me strength to be who He wants me to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Regaining Weight and Regaining Control

Earlier this week I wrote a post about the anger that I was feeling, but I wasn’t ready to discuss how to change it.  Here’s an excerpt from what I said:

What can I say? I know that I should skip the venti iced nonfat caramel macchiato at Starbucks.  I also know that I should start my day with a workout instead of sleeping in for an extra half hour.  I know that I should swap out the food that I eat at restaurants for salads that I eat at home, and I know that I should drive by Krispy Kreme without stopping…ever. (Seriously, who needs a doughnut from Krispy Kreme?  They’re grossly overrated.)

Feeling angry sucks, and feeling angry and helpless sucks even more.  Verbally abusing myself won’t change anything either.  I understand that it works for some people, but I love myself too much to do it (at least most of the time.) Losing weight isn’t easy, but it’s possible.  How many times have I said that over the years?  Maybe it’s hard.  It’s obviously harder for me than I like to admit, but there are some simple concepts that would lead to big results if I’d simply do them:

  • Skip the calorie-laden drinks at Starbucks.  This seems like common sense, and it is.  I decided that I’d allow myself to drink them from time to time, which then became pretty frequent.  It’s fine to have a coffee or tea with no sugar and a splash of milk, but the 270 calories and load of sugar (even with the 16 grams if protein) just isn’t a good idea.  I don’t drink sodas. Why in the world would I drink sugary milk?
  • Exercise on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a weekend day.  This is easy enough, and yet, I’ve gotten so incredibly lazy.  I don’t sit at home and watch TV or all day or anything, but I tend to leave my house shortly after noon (without eating lunch.)  I work as a private tutor during the week, and I go to class as well.  I lead a small group on Wednesday evenings and go to band practice on Thursday evenings.  I’m not lazy in a traditional sense, but I’m not making an effort to sweat before I leave home.  (Did I mention the cute, little gym upstairs at my building? I’m embarrassed to admit how long it’s been since I exercised in it.)
  • Prepare healthy foods that I can take with me on the go. I used to do this. It requires some extra effort, but I used to believe that Sunday nights existed for food prep.  At some point (a long time ago) that changed.  It needs to change again because a little effort goes a long way, and little changes like that go a long way.
  • Say NO to Krispy Kreme.  I know so many people who think that their doughnuts are sub-par, and they are.  I know it, but when I drive by, I want them.  I don’t always get them, but I get them more often than I should.  I used to love cokes.  I would drink them everyday.  I was a slave to them, and one day I stopped drinking them.  Now, years later, I think they’re so ridiculously disgusting.  Perhaps it’s time to have a similar experience with doughnuts.

If you talk to someone who has lost a significant amount of weight, if they’re being honest, they’ll probably tell you that it’s hard to get everything right all the time.  (I know this is true because I hear it often.)  I’m not sure if it gets easier or when, which means that I’m focusing on a couple of minor changes that will lead to better results.  Right now regaining control is my biggest concern, and I’m making a couple of minor adjustments to do just that.

My focus this month has surrounded Starbucks because I’m there frequently.  Exercising before Starbucks is better than not exercising, but skipping sugary coffee drinks is obviously better that that.  I’d like to see some changes in myself, and I’m giving up the macchiatos for the next month.  At that point, I’ll decide if I want to have one before limiting them again, but my guess is that I’ll be over them.  I don’t drink coffee everyday, but I like the environment.  My goal is to have unsweet tea or unsweet tea when I’m there.   I drink a lot of water there too because one of my favorite barista pals always reminds me to hydrate.

I’m also banning Krispy Kreme from my life for the next 30 days.  Am I the only one who feels like short-term goals are more manageable?  I’ve proven that making number goals without adjusting my habits doesn’t work.  Maybe now I can prove that creating goals in the form of new habits will, in fact, allow the number goals to work themselves out.

I’m much happier and much more relieved than I was when I wrote the previous post, but I’m still not happy with the fact that I let myself spin out of

I’m in Washington, D.C. right now, and I’m sticking to the Starbucks rule too.  I still can’t say that I’m in control, but I’m working on it again, which is more than I could say at the beginning of the week.

 

*$#% People

I’ve been in a pretty dark place since Thursday, and I’m still fighting to find my way out of it today.  I’m genuinely upbeat most of the time, and when I’m not, I don’t really know how to handle it.  It’s hard to say that I’m depressed because I’m content, even happy, most days, but right now I’m facing feelings of anger.  My favorite phrase right now is “*$%# people.”

Have you ever heard that saying, “If everyone around you is being an a-hole, you’re probably the a-hole?”  I get it.  I know that the anger that I feel right now is directed toward myself more than anyone else.  Sure, people suck sometimes, which doesn’t help me feel better.  I just need to find a way out of this slump, and I need to do it soon.

I’m angry with myself because I’m so obese.  I’m pissed because I’m out of control, which is no one’s fault except mine.  I feel like I’ve officially thrown in the towel. (Score one for the pathetic pieces of garbage who come here to hate me. You don’t think I’m as pathetic as I think I am right now.)

It’s hard to admit that I’m angry and lonely (because who else understands what it’s like to be so obese, then to lose an impressive amount, then to regain a significant piece of it, then to feel like I’m even more pathetic than I was when I started because I can’t get it right even with all of the amazing blessings in my life?) It’s hard to admit that I’m letting it affect me in other areas too.  It’s hard to admit that I feel so much resentment because I’m worthless in the eyes of society.  It’s also hard to admit that even though I know that God loves me, I wish I could feel desired by someone.

What can I say? I know that I should skip the venti iced nonfat caramel macchiato at Starbucks.  I also know that I should start my day with a workout instead of sleeping in for an extra half hour.  I know that I should swap out the food that I eat at restaurants for salads that I eat at home, and I know that I should drive by Krispy Kreme without stopping…ever. (Seriously, who needs a doughnut from Krispy Kreme?  They’re grossly overrated.)

I know what I should do, and instead of doing it, I spend my time feeling like crap for not doing it.  I donate a lot of time to intentionally helping others every week, which normally makes me feel good.  When did I officially decide to stop helping myself?

I’m pissed.  I take responsibility for being pissed.  I know that I’m supposed to tell you that I have the power to change it, but the truth is that I feel powerless. (Score another one for the aforementioned pieces of garbage who come here to hate me.)

The last few days have been rough.  I wish that I was wrapping up this post with some kind of empowering, affirming message that confirms that the hard parts in the past, but I don’t.  It’s Monday, and I’m unhappy.  I can only hope that admitting this today will make tomorrow a little bit better.

 

 

Can We Really Be Fat and Happy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick and Transparent

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

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

—–

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

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

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

 

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

 

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?

 

 

Things Change

Clint is moving to Chicago in a few weeks, and when he called to tell me about the job offer, he asked if I thought he should go.  My opinion matters a lot to that guy, and I don’t like it lightly.  I asked him if he wanted to go, and he answered the way I thought he would.  He said, ‘yes.’

As hard as it is to think of living in downtown New Orleans without him, it’s easy to be happy for him as he moves into his next phase of life.  He graduated from Tulane recently, and he got a promotion that allows him to move into a bigger market (which will be a solid career move for him.)

I tend to get mushy when I talk about “The Suit” because I could never say thank you enough for the friendship that he’s given me.  So many of the incredibly positive changes that have occurred in my life since 2012, happened as a result of his willingness to say “Hey…who you are is okay.  You’re great the way you are, and if people disagree, they’re not worth your time.”

One of the defining moments of my life happened in an empty hallway at Tulane on day before our first final exam together in 2012.  I had just been on ABC News Nightline, and I was taking heat from online bullies who hate fat people.  One particular message that I received, in which the person threatened to find me, rape me and kill me hit me hard….really hard.

I was in tears, not realizing that anyone else was around, and Clint showed up right in front of me.  He read the repugnant words on the screen of my cell phone, and he gently put his hands on my cheeks.  He said, “Kenlie, look at me.  You’re safe.  This a-hole isn’t here; these words aren’t reality.  This is your reality, and he grinned.”

It was in that moment that I realized that my reality was safe and happy.  In reality, I was walking into class, surrounded by people who respected me, and I was finally creating the life that I wanted to have for myself.  I’m not sure what I had been so afraid of before, but that day, the fear began to subside.

Clint was instrumental in what would become a series of radical life changes for me that included accepting myself, finding a church home, remembering who I am in Christ and discovering that my circumstances could and would change.

I never knew what it was like to have a friend like him, and now I never want to know what it’s like without him. It looks like it’s time to add Chicago to my favorite destinations…There could be worse places to visit.

Kenlie and Clint at George Strait and Reba

 

 

 

Love, or Something Like It

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and while no one will be giving me flowers or chocolates this year, love is on my mind…

There’s a man in my life, and I have feelings for him. I mentioned him for the first time here in September, and I’ve mentioned him once or twice since then. In some ways, he doesn’t fit the mold of the man that I used to envision, but in other ways he exceeds all of the dreams of a significant other that I’ve ever had.

He’s smart, incredibly humble and handsome, and he makes me laugh. He comforts me when I cry and calms me down when I get ticked off. I light up when I see him, and the big, easy smile that always appears on his face when he sees me shows me that he’s happy to see me too.

He is a great father. (Yes, Kenlie is attracted to a man who has kids.) He loves them, and they love him. The relationship he has with his children says a lot about the kind of man he strives to be, and the relationship that I have with his children makes it easy to love them too.

He doesn’t wear a suit to work, but he looks smoking hot when he does wear one. He’s successful. He works hard, but he knows that he’s blessed to have the career that he has.

He has a thankful heart, and he loves Jesus. When I began thinking about what I wanted in a man, it never occurred to me that I’d be attracted to someone who would put GOD first, but now I think it’s one of the sexiest things about him. He thinks about his actions and his words before he acts on them, and he strives to live a life that is GOD-approved. I’m trying to do the same thing, and he helps me grow in that. I help him grow too.

He stands by his beliefs (even sometimes when I think he’s dead wrong,) but he’s also amenable to change. When I make a good point, he embraces it. When he’s wrong, he’s not too prideful to admit that he’s wrong. Few things make my heart happier than watching him as he hangs on my every word before he concedes that I’m right or challenges me to think it through in a different way.

We’re good for each other. No, we’re great for each other. Whether we’re hanging out with friends into the wee hours of the night or relaxing on the sofa with his kids, or reading The Bible, we’re happy when we’re together, and people notice.

Our friends often joke about it, noting that when we’re together, we act like no one else is there. (They exaggerate, but point taken.) It is safe to assume that if we’re in the same room, we won’t be too far apart (with exception of Sunday mornings when I’m busy on stage or chatting and hugging everyone who walks through the doors of our church while he catches up with friends that he doesn’t see everyday.)

His life is so different than mine in some ways, but at the same time, he understands me. I don’t have to work hard to explain my feelings to him. They just flow naturally, and he communicates his thoughts and feelings very well most of the time too.

He knows all of my bad stuff – my darkest regrets, the lies I’ve told, the mistakes I’ve made that hurt people, the pain that I endured, my fears, and he doesn’t judge me. He just empathizes and allows me to be exactly who I am (scars, faults and all.)

He’s ten years older than I am, and he just moved into a beautiful new home in the suburbs that he had custom built, while I live in a historical high-rise downtown. He likes fishing and hunting and outdoor things, and I like shopping and traveling to new and interesting places. That said, when I step into his world, I realize that I love it, and the same happens when he steps into my little world. I’d probably even like fishing as long he handled the bait and the fish (since I’d inevitably catch some big ones!) We share a lot of friends, but he seems comfortable with everyone in my life regardless of how long he’s known them.

It’s hard to explain the connection that I feel for him because he’s not my boyfriend, yet he’s so much more than just some guy that I have a crush on. Sure, I think he’s amazing. He’s breathtaking. He makes me giddy, but it’s deeper than that. There’s something awesome and undefinable about our coexistence, but I don’t try to categorize it. I just enjoy it.

He matters to me. Our paths have crossed for a reason, though neither of us can fully explain why yet. I like to make him happy, and I want to take care of him (even though he is a full grown man who doesn’t need my protection.) I like feeling like he needs me from time to time, and I like knowing that I can depend on him to be there when I need or want him to be.

He is so special to me. I’m pretty full of joy regardless of others, but he makes my heart happy. He is the kind of man I want in my life forever – the kind of man that I’d change everything for if I had the opportunity. I cannot begin to understand why GOD has placed him in my life if he’s not meant for me, but I’m patiently waiting for Him to show me.

Lately a few friends have suggested that I express what I want in a relationship, and if I could sum it up, I’d say that I want something just like this (only adding that I want to kiss him whenever I want to.) I want the kind of relationship that I’ve just described, and I want it forever.

I want to love someone who loves me, and I want to show that man how much he is loved and desired. I want intimacy and a promise that he’ll always be there. If I can’t have that, then I’ll just continue to live life as a single person who’s thankful for everything that I do have.