Category Archives: Exercise

My Life and Work in SHAPE Magazine

When I got to work today I learned that SHAPE Magazine posted an article about where I work, why I love it and how I see myself these days, and I’m sharing it here because it feels like a good update on my life.

kenlie-tiggman

Check it out, and share your gym stories and/or what you’re doing to promote a healthy lifestyle for yourself.

http://www.shape.com/weight-loss/success-stories/im-300-pounds-and-i-found-my-dream-job%E2%80%94-fitness

 

Okay, Let’s Talk About Richard Simmons

It’s been quiet around here lately, but I don’t think I can stay quiet about Richard Simmons any longer. I had mixed feelings about discussing him here, so I just didn’t. Thinking of him makes my heart swell with sadness, but after the media reports that surfaced last week I think it’s time speak up.

Richard went into hiding, or something two years ago, and I miss the man I’ve adored most of my life. Even as a kid, before I thought of myself as overweight/plus-sized, I admired him because of his love for people. And many years later, when I wrote him an open letter on my blog, his response was prompt and overwhelming. I never thought that the larger-than-life fitness icon would care that I wrote him a letter, so I was blown away when I received the first of many emails only a few days later.

At the time I was at the top of my weight-loss game, but everything slowly began to crumble when the pesky airline made me feel like I was as worthless as they thought I was. Regardless, I got on a plane and flew to Los Angeles to take a class with him at Slimmons, and those workouts were among the coolest things I’ve ever experienced in my life. (It was so cool, in fact, that I thought it was a good idea to move to Beverly Hills just to be close enough to exercise with him regularly, so I did.)

Richard Simmons

Richard made me feel like anything was possible, but even more importantly, he made me feel like I was lovable just like I was. (I hadn’t discovered that yet.)

Richard Simmons and Kenlie at Slimmons

When he went into seclusion he stopped emailing people he communicated with regularly (myself included.) At first, I wondered if I had unknowingly offended him. I wondered if he had given up on me since I was struggling with my weight again, but several months later I learned that it wasn’t me at all.

There was a sign at his studio saying that he’d be back next month, which became the next month and the next month…I soon learned that he stopped responding to my friends like KeepItUpDavid, who were in constant contact with him as well, and months later no one had heard anything from him.

Richard SImmons and KeepItUpDavid and Kenlie

TMZ reached out to my at one point last year, but I refused to talk. The Today Show used footage from when I worked out at Slimmons for the first time to tell viewers that Richard had resurfaced, but that wasn’t true either.

Richard Simmons Kenlie Today Show

There’s been radio silence from Richard until last week when he called in for an interview with Today. It was such a relief to hear his voice that I shed tears for a moment at my desk. At the same time I was sad to hear his quiet, almost calculated words. He sounded sad, which made me sad.

I don’t know what he’s going through. (I have some theories, but I won’t be elaborating on them.) He has the right to live his life privately if that’s what he wants to do.  I just want him to be happy, and I hope he knows that no matter what, I love him, I’m praying for him, I miss him, and I hope I see his face again someday.

 

The Post Mardi Gras, Good Grief I Need To Get It Together, Valentine’s Day Blues, Or Something Like That

I’ve sat down to blog several times lately, and I’ve been almost immediately distracted by other things. I wanted to share the details of my food intake during the week of Mardi Gras. In short, I ate a lot of random junk that can barely be considered food. If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen the fried Oreos that my neighbor delivered to me during my afternoon nap. You may have also noticed that I enjoyed King cake with friends on more than one occasion.

king cake sucre new orleans

This city shuts down for Mardi Gras. It’s amazing. Stores close, and everyone goes to parades…lots and lots of parades. The revelry lasts for two weeks, and people take it very seriously. I had more fun this year because I found a way to get back to my apartment while avoiding most of the traffic. (This isn’t easy to do when you live at one of the most popular parts of the parade route.) I also went to a couple of parades with co-workers who have become friends, a former colleague and friend and the guy I started dating recently. My favorite neighbor spent a lot of time with me during the week too, and I got very little accomplished. On Mardi Gras Day (Fat Tuesday) I brought Christopher to Starbucks with me, and we met several of my friends there and played board games all afternoon. It was such a simple day, but I loved every minute of it.

My friend, Andrew, who was here in New Orleans for over a week, returned home to New York late last week. And Christopher  is there right now for work, so I took the opportunity to get some sleep, clean house, spend time with people who matter to me and to consider meals for the next few days.

Mardi Gras consists of 14 days of over-indulgence, coupled with time off, but it’s over now. Thankfully, Valentine’s Day is over too. Every year I feel so much pressure to be loved on that day, and every year I feel positively ridiculous about that. I know that I’m loved everyday by my family and friends and Jesus. I’m also happy that I’ve met someone who’s smart, handsome and easy to talk to and makes me laugh until my face hurts, but the pressure of this holiday is way too intense for something so new. Instead of going out on a date, I spent today singing love songs at an assisted living home near my church. They ate ice cream sundaes, and we had some awesome conversations.  The idea was to serve and honor the lovely people there, but they ended up blessing me far more than I could have blessed them.

I’m ready to get back into the healthy groove that I’ve been carving out lately because I feel so much better when I’m doing good things for my body. I spent a lot of time discussing healthy recipes and nutritious lifestyles with one of my favorite people this weekend, and I feel motivated to consume healthy and delicious meals this week. I’ve also caught up on some sleep that I’ve been missing lately, which feels great.

It’s a new week, and I’m ready to make it a good one. I’m taking on more responsibility at work this week, which means I’ll have more opportunities to exercise. I also have my food planned out for Monday and Tuesday. Bring on the quinoa, black beans and chicken! It’s crawfish season too, and I’m already loving that!

crawfish

Is anyone else fighting to get back into the groove this week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus-Size Weight Training, Cardio and TRX…and Junk Food…

I’ve wanted to sit down and blog several times over the last few weeks, but between work, travel and the other things I enjoy I haven’t made the time. I wanted my next post to be a holiday recap, but it looks like that will happen later (if it happens at all.)

Right now I want to talk about fitness. It almost feels weird to say that, even though at one point we discussed that frequently here. I’ve been journaling my food for about a month now, and I’ve started incorporating workouts into my daily routine. It seems to be working too because I didn’t gain weight over the holidays. I actually lost a couple of pounds. (I’ll do an official update here next week.)

plus size weight training

If we’re connected via social media you may know that started working at the YMCA late last year, and being there has been awesome on so many levels. I love the work I’m doing, but I also love coming out of my office and entering the gym. It’s hard not to be motivated when you’re surrounded by regular people doing extraordinary things.

Weight training is a big deal, especially for women who want to get fit. I used to do it pretty regularly, and I forgot how much I love feeling my sore muscles because I crushed it at the gym.

Last week I told my boss that I wanted to try some classes that intimidate me, so the first on the last is Body Combat. I’ll do it Thursday, but today I tried TRX. I hadn’t even attempted that since I went to IDEA in Los Angeles 5 years ago, but I’m so glad I tried it today.

it made me feel good to know that I’m not starting from square one. My body is a lot stronger than it was when I started this journey, and I am relieved because I’m finally shifting my focus away from my failures and onto my future.

TRX

There’s no way for me to make this look attractive, but I don’t care. I felt awesome when I remembered that my body could do difficult things.

I felt fierce as I got familiar with the straps and the different exercises. I still have a lot to learn, but I was able to work up a sweat. I also spent some time doing circuits with compound movements before taking a ride on the recumbent bike. I’ve always loved the ‘bent because it was the first piece of gym equipment I wasn’t afraid to try when I was new to the idea of exercise.

In addition to exercise I’m spending more time preparing meals that will have a positive impact on my body. It’s not always as convenient, but I’ve noticed that if I meal prep for two or three days at a time I can do it pretty easily.

This week I’ve eaten a lot of chicken, a few boiled eggs, veggies, quinoa, almonds and cheese, (though not all at once, of course.) Smoked almonds are ridiculously salty, but when I eat an ounce of them it seems like I’m making a better choice than a bag of chips. (I love raw almonds too, but I had the smoked ones in my cabinet.)

Today one of our trainers suggested that I join the 21 Day Junk Food Challenge, and I agreed to do it. I’ll post the details on Instagram, and I’d love to hear from you if you want to join me in the challenge. The goal is to eliminate junk food for the next few weeks, which sounds simple, right? Uh, if it were actually simple for me this blog wouldn’t exist, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

If anyone wants to join me in the challenge, leave a comment here or on Instagram, and I’ll come up with a prize pack to give away.

I left my home at 5:30 this morning, and I got home just before dark. I’m usually home later, but I’m eat tonight. I had a long and productive day, and I’m looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.

Until then….

 

 

 

 

When He Brings Up Your Weight

The last few days have been incredibly busy for me, but I feel as though a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Sharing the number on the scale was embarrassing for a moment, then it became freeing. I don’t want to want my life to revolve around the numbers on the scale, but I don’t want to hide from them either.

After the conversation I had with that guy (you know the one) earlier this week, I did a lot more reflecting, meal prepping and exercising. That man is not the man for me. He’s much older than I am and more selfish than I am, but there are moments in which it feels like he cares for me deeply.

When I was sick came to my place so we could take a nap while coughing all over him, and when  he learned that my tire was flat last week he dropped everything at work to come and repair it for me.

He’s a nice man who spent months showing me that he adored me and desired me the way I am, so when he wanted to talk about my weight as we drank coffee the other day I was willing.

C: I just got a text from Walgreens saying that my prescription is ready. Do you get texts when yours are ready? (He’s in great shape, but he’s a diabetic.)

K: You know I don’t take any…

C: Well, yes. You will probably need to someday if you don’t change some habits. 

K: Uh…

C: I’m just saying that your eating habits aren’t exactly great, you know? Maybe it would be a good idea to make some changes now instead of when you’re forced to. 

K: Dude, I’ve lost so much, gained some back, etc. 

We paused to discuss some private stuff regarding my initial weight gain, then resumed our conversation. 

C: I don’t want to talk about that right now. (He already knows my history.) I want to talk about what we could do today. 

K: Yeah, I mean…it’s something I have to do, and it’s really frustrating that I let myself go backwards for so long. 

C: What can I do to help?

K: Not a thing.

C: You have to do this for yourself…not for me or anyone else. 

K: Oh, believe me…I know. It’s frustrating to think that you’d want me more if I were skinnier, but…

C: I’ve already proven my desire for you, Kenlie. You just need to make some changes. People already love you how you are. 

K: Yeah, I know. I did really well during the time period in which we were eating lunch together everyday. 

C: You need to make a schedule. 

K: I know. 

C: You don’t have to worry about everything. Just worry about what you’re doing to do today and tomorrow.

K: That’s far less overwhelming.

C: I wish we were the only two people in the world. I mean, in our world, so we could decide together that we’re going to start. Imagine how different things would be in a year. Instead we have to be careful not to end up giving each other a shot or something. 

K: Well, we know that’s not going to happen (referring to him being around for all of that.)

C: Oh, do you have a crystal ball?

K: Nope, just common sense.

C: You can’t predict the future, Kenlie.

K: Whatever. I’m going to work out now. 

It’s been an emotionally tough year for me. I mean, we constantly evolve as people, which means that some times are better than others. I just dealt with a few extended periods of stress that I’m not used to this year. I’ve also learned a lot about myself and experienced tremendous growth throughout this year.

I fought loneliness hard this year too, and it wasn’t until a few months ago that I began recognizing God as my source – for comfort, in my finances and in every other area. Yes, I knew He was there and that He loves me so much, but I have found so much strength in leaning on Him when I feel weak or lonely.

Food is connected to my emotions, and my emotions lie. They tell me that I can’t do this, or that I’d be more loved if I weren’t so fat. They say that I’m a failure because I have to try again, and they tell me that sitting at home next to my Christmas tree watching a Hallmark movie will be so much better if I have a calorie-laden hot chocolate…and cake or pie. They scream about how much easier it would be to do this is C was with me everyday to help me stick to it.

I have overcome some major obstacles in my life, and sometimes I surprise myself with cool things that I do or opportunities that arise. (Have I mentioned that I work for a gym now? I still have my regular clients, but seriously…I work at a gym.)

I know that I can do this, and I know that I have to take little steps to establish consistency and create a routine. I know that I don’t need that man in my kitchen everyday to succeed. I know that all I need is a little more gumption and to make my food intake a much higher priority than it has been.

Being skinny is not something that I find particularly appealing. Wait, that is an absolute lie. It would be awesome to be tiny, but what I want more than anything now (regarding my health) is to be in control of my body and intake. I just want to get back into the 280’s, a point in which I felt unstoppable.

I started by making a few healthy meals so it would be convenient to eat something healthy and delicious, and that’s working. I’m going to update my exercise log once in a while too. I’ll write it down and report it here (even if I’m the only one seeing it.)

My big goal right now is to plan what I’m going to eat today and tomorrow. I’ll deal with the rest as it happens. (I think rotisserie chicken is going to be my new favorite for a while. Yum.)

Is anyone else reading this and starting over? Have you already started over? If so, I’d like to hear what you’re doing.

 

 

 

Let’s Talk About How Much I Weigh Today

It’s been a while since I said anything here, and it’s been a really long while since I used this blog for its intended purpose – accountability.

When my blog disappeared from the internet recently I thought about whether or not I should keep it or let it go. Thankfully, GoDaddy recognized the mistake and restored it, but during that period I did some reflecting.

Does anyone read blogs these days?

Is blogging still a thing?

Should I let it go since it hasn’t served its intended purpose in a long time?

At some points this blog was an empowering tool, but it also led to significant pain at other points. Is any of it relevant anymore?

I’ve changed so much. Do those changes really need to be documented online?

Will anyone actually read it if I do write?

All of these thoughts and questions swirled in my mind over the 24-hour period in which it was gone. I even posed a question on Facebook asking for opinions about whether or not I should pay the $150 fee to have it restored.

Ultimately, it was fixed without the fee, and during that time I realized that I wasn’t ready to let go of it yet. I also realized that the reasons I want to keep it are personal. I didn’t mind the thought of people not reading it, but I hated the thought of losing the personal history that I’ve shared here. Sure, it only matters to me, but I’m the only person it really needs to matter to.

I weigh almost as much as I did when I started this blog nearly 7 years ago. A long time ago I lost a lot of weight, and when I stopped being diligent I became apathetic. It’s the truth, and I’m not proud of it.

This morning I weighed 357.2 pounds, only 36.4 pounds down from my highest recorded weight. Sure, I’m glad I don’t weigh 36.4 pounds more than I did when I started, but I’m headed there fast if I don’t change something. This realization makes me sad. It also embarrasses me more than words can express.

As I sat at Starbucks today with the man I used to mention vaguely here we discussed my weight, his worries regarding my long-term health and all of the excuses/reasons I have for letting my weight spiral out of control again. (I’ll share more about our conversation later.)

I know that I’m not the only person who has lost weight and gained it back. I also know that it’s possible to do it again, to hold on tighter and to start again now.

Kenlie Gym

When I got home after a busy day I hit the gym, then I prepared a healthy dinner. I’m not prepared enough or disciplined enough to plan out a month of meals right now, but I do think I can plan for tomorrow. Maybe that’s all I need to do right now.

It has been a long time since I used this blog as a tool for my weight-loss, but I’m starting now. I’m done making excuses, feeling like a failure and putting off another attempt until later. I changed my habits today, and I’m going to try to do the same again tomorrow.

Now it’s time for a cold, post-gym shower because I have a lot of work ahead of me tonight, and I’ve put it all off long enough.

 

Harsh Reality and A Warning

When I was at my heaviest I started having issues with my feet, and for a period of a few months I was seeing a podiatrist to get cortisone injections on my heels. It hurt so much to walk that I struggled to do little things like shop at big stores, walk out to my car in the snow, etc.

When my niece was born in 2009 I flew to Colorado and cried for hours when I arrived because my feet were so swollen that I couldn’t put on any of my shoes to go and see my family at the hospital. Even my big pair of Uggs, which I bought a size bigger than usual, was too tight to put on.

The pain was intense, and at that point I had lost about 12 pounds. I felt hopeful, but I also felt terrified. I knew that I didn’t want to live that way, and over the next few years I worked to change it.

It only took about 2 months of consistent weight-loss to make me realize that I no longer felt any pain in my feet. In fact, the constant ache was replaced by a spring in my step. I started feeling great, and life got much easier and more enjoyable at that point.

The sad, embarrassing and scary truth is that as I was rehearsing to lead worship at church today I felt pain in my heel. It was mild, and by no means did it keep me from running around all day. But it still hurts tonight.

I’m not at my heaviest weight now, but I’m close enough that it scares to think about how easy it would be to get there. I’ve gained so much weight over the last 2 years, and I don’t like it.

I’ve experienced feelings of failure and defeat, but I also realize that control is within my reach whenever I’m ready to grab it.

My habits were better in September than they’ve been in a long time, but after some emotional turmoil and stress I felt myself slipping again.

I never want to step on the scale and see the number I saw the first time I walked into Weight Watchers, which means I need to get serious. I’m committed to counting calories, and I need to work out at least 3 – 4 times a week.

I don’t want to be who I was before. I didn’t like her very much because she loathed herself too much to try. She gave up easily until she realized she was worth fighting for.

I’m worth fighting for, and I’m going to spend the next month obnoxiously posting about my workouts, food intake and everything else that I usually post about on Instagram.

It’s ridiculous to start over again and again, but it’s better than not trying. There are some cool things on the horizon, and it’s time to make sure that I’m healthy and happy enough to enjoy it.

Is anyone else struggling with weight, self-control, etc? Do you have a plan to change it? Are you succeeding? If so, what are you doing to see progress?

 

If You Don’t Like It, Change It

Monte shared a message about discernment at NOLA Church Sunday morning, and while there was so much food for thought, the biggest takeaway for me was when he said, “If you don’t like your relationship with God, change it.” This isn’t going to be a post about that even though that’s really important, but the statement can apply to practically anything in our lives. 

I’ve been feeling down a lot lately, and today I decided to do some things to change it. Last night I spent some time singing and playing piano (if you can call what I did playing) just to break through some of the nervousness that I feel when I think of playing in front of people. I did it a lot growing up because my parents made me, but now I’d like to because I enjoy it. I’m passionate about singing, so maybe at some point I could feel the same way about keys. if not, it will still be fun to do it from time to time.

  

I changed up my lunch routine a bit today too. I went to Whole Foods and ate a healthy, hearty lunch, then I picked up a spa water (okay, two) to bring back to the office with me. I drank my fruit infused water instead of coffee, and it made me feel healthy and a little fancy. (It doens’t take much. Ha.) 

  

I also spent some time on my rooftop after work today. Having a snack and drink in your bed is gross and depressing, but do it by the pool, and it’s awesome. I had a couple of friends over too, and while we were up there a nice guy offered us some of the steaks he grilled. I had a few bites, but I grilled some stuff as well. 

After that I hit the gym with my aforementioned friends. Two out of three of us didn’t feel like it, but thankfully, the one who did convinced us to do it too. I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill, which feels a lot better than nothing. 

  

I also signed up to do a 5k with another friend on May 30th. She’ll reach the finish line before I do, but I’m fine with that. We’ll both leave with finisher metals anyway, and there will be someone waiting to take a picture of me. (Ah, the perks of being slower.) 

I can’t say that I feel 100% better and completely amazing yet, but I can honestly say that I feel so much better than I did yesterday. 

Now I’m going to curl up under my blankets, spend a few minutes reading the Bible, then have a good night’s sleep and pray that I can stay focused and empowered again tomorrow. (That may not be easy because I have to have a conversation that I’d rather not have tomorrow, but I’ll worry about that later.) 

I’m here, and I’m trying to jump out of my comfort zone to change what I don’t like while rediscovering my worth, which I seemed to forget for a while. Overall, I’d say I’m on my way back to the right track. 

Obesity and Energy Levels

I receive a lot of unsolicited advice about my “health,” and most of the time I appreciate it because people care enough to say something. It’s an important issue, but my size doesn’t accurately portray my energy level to many looking at me from a distance. 

Say what you want about my need to lose weight. That’s an undisputable fact, but I’m going to brag about my energy levels for a moment. 

I get up around 6 am during the week, and I’m up almost as early on Sunday mornings. Most days I’m away from home for more than 12 hours at a time. I’m gnerally not the “sit on the sofa while eating pizza while binging on Netflix” type, though I did make an exception for House of Cards. I’m the “wake up, hit the ground running, let’s smile because it’s finally time to be awake” type (at least most days.) 

I sleep well. When my head hits the pillow, it usually isn’t long until I’m dreaming. I typically feel rested when I wake up. I indulge in occassional Sunday naps, but it’s not a requirement…not even close. 

I have more energy and endurance than a lot of people who are much smaller than I am, but I don’t have as much as I had two years ago. This isn’t a post about comparing myself to other people because I don’t do that; this is about me. 

I’m aggravated with myself because I gained a significant amount of weight back, but I’m doing better. I’m consistenly eating less and making better choices. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but it’s been better for the last few months. 

My routine feels pretty solid now, but I need to exercise more than I do. I need to do it consitently because I know that it will lower my stress levels and increase my energy levels. It’s a win-win, so why am I struggling to do it? 

I’m busy from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. I enjoy everything I do, so rarely does it feel like burden. I’m thankful for that. I don’t prioritize my workouts, which is no secret here. I know that needs to change, which is also not a secret. 

I know that I need to continue taking steps in the a healthier direction. I’m doing that by cooking chicken in my slow cooker and bringing my lunch to work, making more time to get enough sleep, drinking water, and eating vegetables. I know that there’s so much more to do. 

I just find it a little frustrating (and silly) that people (though most of them mean well) spend their time and effort telling me how I should detox, or how I should do this or that because it will give me more energy, etc. It’s odd because those people (the recent ones) aren’t as healthy, balanced, or energized as I am. They’re just skinnier. 

I don’t offer a lot of unsolicited advice, but if I did, I’d start by suggesting that people offer less unsolicited advice. I’d follow that up with the need to recognize that our looks don’t always portray everything that’s happening on the inside. In fact, it rarely does. 

This isn’t something that I plan to lose sleep over. It’s just a little PSA for those well-intentioned, yet misguided folks. I’m okay. I could sugarcoat what I’m about to say, but it’s not intended to be mean:

If you’re talking about this with me and I yawn, it’s probably just because these talks bore me. Thank you for caring. Just take a bit more time to pay attention to the reality of my situation if you’re going to comment on it. I’m juggling my priorities right now, and I’ll keep trying to do better. 

—–

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 

Collossians 3:17

Are Cankles A Job Hazard?

I feel like I’m adjusting well to life at the office, but I’m having one issue that I wasn’t expecting. My feet and ankles are swelling.

Is it safe to assume that it’s because I’m sitting a lot more than normal? Several people have said that, but why would sitting make your feet swell? What should I be doing to combat it?

I’ve been taking my lunch to work each day, and I’ve made packed healthy and well-balanced meals. I’m also drinking a lot of water. I bring it by the gallon, so I can refill my pretty Starbucks tumbler all day.

I’m not incorporating exercise into my daily routine yet, but I know that will help the swelling too. Won’t it?

It’s amazing to realize how much I move around on an average day. Coming here has definitely made me much more sedentary than I was, so I need to figure out how to be active during the days that I’m here too.

I walk to the far restroom when I need to go, and I spend my little breaks walking around the building. I just need to do more, and I’m not sure where to start. I’m only here Monday through Thursday of most weeks, but that’s a big chunk of time.

I’m eating healthier things, and I’m going to bed earlier. I’m drinking water, and I need to exercise.

Does anyone have ideas to help reduce the swelling? If so, I’d love to hear them.