Category Archives: Food

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Day One

The process to be approved for weight-loss surgery is not short, but if the end result leads me to incredible health benefits it’ll be worth it. It’s slightly less overwhelming now that I’ve spoken to my doctor about everything I need to do in preparation, but it’s going to be a long road.

The surgeon sent me a checklist that must be completed before I can be approved, and the process has begun:

  • Clearance from Cardiologist with a recent EKG – I had an EKG a few weeks ago, and it came back normal. Whew! I still have to see a cardiologist though, which means I have to find one soon.
  • Psychological Evaluation – I’m in the healthiest place I’ve ever been in my heart and mind, so that doesn’t seem like a big deal. I just need to schedule an appointment.
  • Pulmonology Evaluation – I have to have a pulmonary function test and an arterial blood gas. I really have no idea what this means, but it sounds like it might hurt. Yikes!
  • Blood work with a TSH within the last 12 months – I did this a few weeks ago too, but if they need more blood I’ll let them poke me again. I think we’re good are though.
  • Physician supervised weight loss and exercise program for 6 months – My insurance pays for Weight Watchers meetings, which counts. I’m already doing pretty well there, so I’m going to keep it up. Today was my first of 6 appointments that will be specific to my weight-loss progress. I’ll see my doctor again a month from now, and I hope to be 8 to 10 pounds lighter.
  • Dietician Evaluation – This seems pretty straight forward, and I think I could benefit greatly from it. I’ll do that on the same day as my surgical visit.

I’ve been doing well with Weight Watchers lately, and I’m finally starting to feel well after a few weeks of pain due to skin issues. I haven’t exercised in over two weeks, but I think I’m well enough to start again. Unfortunately, there’s no prescription or remedy to completely fix the problem, so even though it hurts again I have to deal with it.

sleep studyTonight I’m doing a sleep study, which should be interesting. Thankfully, they sent me home with the equipment, so I’m not required to spend the night anywhere else. It seems invasive, but it won’t be nearly as uncomfortable as sleeping in a hospital or another strange place.

I typically sleep through the night and wake up feeling rested, so I’m guessing I’m okay. I’m just going to do every test they suggest with the hope that it will lead me to a healthier place overall.

This process feels overwhelming to me, but I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about how life would be different. I already love my life! I have a loving family, a great job, a group of good friends, a boyfriend who is thoughtful, encouraging and understanding, a comfortable home and a bright future. I don’t want any of that to change; I just want my health to improve long-term, so I  can enjoy the life I’m already living. It would be cool to be able to buy jeans again too, but I think I’m pretty close to that right now.






Blood Work, Parties and Pictures…

My pain level has decreased significantly since my last post, and while I’m not 100% better, I feel well enough to exercise again and do the things I usually do.

My weekend started with friends and colleagues at a work party Friday night when I went to the Sizzling Summer Soiree, our biggest fundraiser of the year. We’ve been looking forward to it for months, and finally being there felt like a huge success.

Michael and MeMy boyfriend, Michael, was my date for the event (obviously,) and we arrived early with a car load of sushi that had been donated for the event. When we arrived he went to work as if he had been a part of the team forever. I love that about him. He’s incredibly intelligent, bright and successful, but when a job needs to be done he gets it done. No job is beneath him because he values everyone, which is such an attractive characteristic.

He already knows the folks I work with because we’re all friends, and they’ve known him since before we were really dating. The cool thing is that he would have worked just as hard or strangers. His parents definitely raised him right. Swoon.

Stacie and KenlieStacie, who has become one of our aforementioned close friends, worked tirelessly to make this event happen. I know others did too, but I saw the work she did first-hand. We definitely all breathed a sigh of relief as we saw the event come together, then she and I took our first selfie. Seriously, we’ve had some great times together, yet we had never taken a picture? We’ve talked about that a few times.  Aren’t we cute?!

After we took our first one we took a few more with our friends and awesome co-workers. (Why not?! We were all feeling snazzy without our ponytails and gym clothes. Haha We were only missing Haley, who looked gorgeous and sparkly from head to toe! )

YMCA Friends

Michael even took one of us that was not a selfie. Who doesn’t love a good group photo?

The Cannery New Orleans

Following the party Saturday and Sunday were the quietest days I’ve had in quite a while. Michael flew out of town for work early that morning and landed as I was waking up for the day (at 7:30 am) while I ran errands around town before returning home. I typically fill my weekends with activities and events,  but I chose to take a much needed rest from all the things.

I did some writing, cooking, reading, baking and shopping. I also watched Hillary and Kaine as she announced him as her VP and  picked up a ring that I had resized. (More on the ring later.)

I had such a quiet and relaxing weekend that I almost felt guilty about it, then I was reminded that sometimes I need that. I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled lifestyle tomorrow, but it felt good to have some rest after the last few weeks. I can’t say that I’ve been busier than usual, but I do have to say that everything feels more tiring and challenging when I don’t feel well.

Thankfully, I’m on the mend. I’m seeing my doctor again on Tuesday, and I hope to have a lot of questions answered pertaining to weight-loss surgery.

Oh, and my blood work came back normal. They tested my A1C (Yay! No diabetes,) thyroid, cholesterol and a long list of other things, and it all looked fine apart from my weight and blood pressure. (Both are higher than they should be, but I’m working on it.) I figured I was probably okay when I didn’t hear back from them immediately, but it’s comforting to know  that I’m alright for the most part anyway.





No, I Will Not Clean My Plate Because People Somewhere Else Are Hungry

Yesterday I had lunch with the aforementioned person that I don’t plan to discuss much here. He grew up in a different place, in which many people didn’t have a lot, and sometimes he’s bothered when I don’t finish my meal or take the rest home.

Shrimp Pizza Louisiana Pizza Kitchen

He had shrimp on his pizza, and I had roasted garlic on mine. Yum!

We’ve enjoyed some delicious meals together, and over the last several years I’ve allowed myself to eat without finishing my meal. We typically eat healthy meals together, but yesterday we ate pizza. I ate 2.5 slices. He finished his and ate some of mine as well, and you can see what was left in the photo.

Roasted Garlic Pizza

When the waiter asked if I needed box, I said no. I wasn’t going straight home, and I knew I wouldn’t eat it anyway because I had plans to meet a client for dinner as well.

He said, “Do you know how many people in my country don’t have enough food to eat?” This time he said it with a soft smile because he already knows how i feel about it.

The first time he ever said that to me I responded by saying, “Yes, I know, but they will never benefit from my overeating.” He’s incredibly supportive, and he immediately understood my point.

I hear that statement a lot from people when I’m out at lunch or dinner, and my response is always the same. For years I overate at every meal. I indulged in too much at once and too often, which led me to an unhealthy size.

I try not to take advantage of everything I have, but sometimes I do. I do my best to conserve water at home, and I limit my consumption of bottled water by using a 5-gallon water cooler in my kitchen. I do a lot of little things to offset my consumption, but eating the rest of my meal will never be a part of that.

I grew up being forced to “clean my plate.” My parents did what they thought was best, but I’ve spent years letting go of the guilt and habits associated with leaving food uneaten. Now I’m okay with it, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s okay to do what is best for myself.

Do you feel guilty when you don’t finish your meal? Do you eat leftovers regardless of what they’re made of?


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.

Juice and Smoothies and Questions

Last week at Monte and Olga’s house, I tasted a green juice that Olga made with their fancy new juicer.  It contained spinach, kale, cucumber, celery and other healthy green things, and it tasted surprisingly great!  They sent me home with their old juicer and inspired me to try making juice myself, so I made a trip to the supermarket and came home with a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Sunday morning (the most rushed morning of my week) I drank juice that I made the night before.  It contained spinach, apples, oranges and a banana.  That’s a lot of sugar, but it seems like a better choice than the doughnuts I might have had in prior weeks.

Kenlie Green Juice

I’ve always been leery of juicing because it feels wasteful.  We also miss out on fiber when we juice, and I’m having trouble deciding whether that’s a bad thing or not.

– Do we need the fiber?

– Are we missing other nutrients when we don’t eat the entire piece of produce?

– Would a smoothie (like the ones I made for later today) be a better choice?

Kenlie Green Smoothie

I like to chew my food so I’m not planning on doing a juicing fast or anything extreme like that, but this does feel like a good way to consume more fruits and veggies.  We’ll see how it works.

Do you juice and/or drink smoothies regularly?  If so, do you worry about not eating enough protein?  Is there anything else that concerns you when juicing?


Getting Honest About Some Things

Before I begin I have to warn you that this post might be long and scattered because I have a lot to get off my chest today, and I’m not sure where to start.

I could never put into words how much I appreciate the unwavering support that I receive here.  Many of you have been here since the beginning waiting to see me reach my goal, encouraging me to keep trying.  I love you for that, and I hope you never stop.  But right now I need to start digging out of this rut of complacency that I have been in for a lot longer than I want to admit.

Losing 100 pounds is often enough to dramatically alter the lives of those who lose it, but it’s not enough for me. I have experienced so many positive changes, but this is not a post about that.  Right now I need to figure out how to change my mindset, how to make myself move forward again in a strong, steady and powerful way.

I don’t know how to climb out of this proverbial hole that I’ve been living in.  I’ve been living comfortably with the fact that I’ve lost so much weight for so long now that it feels like I need to start over.  My past accomplishments don’t need to be forgotten, but they’re old news…really old news.  And I want to bask in some new accomplishments.

Before I continue, I’m going to ask that everyone refrain from telling me that I’m more than a number on a scale, or that I need to love myself so others will, or that I won’t be happy when I get to my goal if I can’t be happy with myself now.  I’ve heard all of that, and I understand most of it.  But let’s face some facts today.

When I look at my life I see some things that I like and some things I still want to change, but everything is overshadowed by a giant dark cloud that is the number on the scale.

I used to encourage others by saying that you don’t have to reach your goal before you start feeling good about yourself. You just have to start.  And it’s true.  I know it’s true because when I said it, I was feeling it.   Right now, what I accomplished throughout the first part of this journey is simply not enough.  I’m still obese.

I could make a list of reasons I love and respect myself today, and that list has grown more in the last year than it has at any other point in my life.  I know that I’m a good person, and I have been working through emotions that are difficult to face because I’m trying to become a better person.  There’s a lot of work going on inside my head, and that’s important to recognize (even though most of it is far too personal to discuss in such a public forum.)

But the fact remains that when I look at myself, I see the number on the scale.  We can say it doesn’t define me, but the truth is that it is me.  My body grew to its largest size because of what I did to it, and whether I like to admit it or not, my size currently defines who I am above everything else.

Look, I have a host of other imperfections as well, but my size haunts me.  It’s the truth, my truth, and the things that led me to my extreme obesity (and the snowball effect it has had since) are not easy to face.  It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, but I’ve been wrong a lot.  I made some pretty incredible mistakes.  I mistreated my body and my loved ones, and in many ways I led a life that could never have been happy and free if I didn’t begin to face those issues.

Before I started losing weight I would always say that I was a “good investment.”  I wanted to believe it was true because surely I’d eventually mature into more than I was – a grossly overweight, unhappy, unmotivated, unsuccessful shell of a human-being who didn’t value herself enough to create any positive change in herself.  (Yeah, the truth hurts, and it’s still not easy to admit now.)  But that’s how I viewed myself.

When guilt set in I told myself that I’d do better tomorrow.  I told myself constantly that the future was filled with hope, yet I failed to give myself any reasons to be hopeful.

Fast-forward to the present: I can’t say that I’m as horribly unhappy or unmotivated now as I was prior to 2009.  As I said, I like a lot of things about my life these days, but there are still some major things I need to change.

I need to change my environment.  I prefer living alone and in a city so I am planning a move into a cute little apartment in downtown New Orleans in the Fall.  Living alone will be good for me.  Controlling what is in the pantry and the refrigerator will be good for me.  I know that, but I also realize that everything I eat now is a choice.  It’s my choice, and it’s up to me to make better decisions.  One thing I’ve noticed spending most of my time downtown is that I’m more likely to go out for food.  It will be easier when I have my own little kitchen, but I will still have to make choices.  Living alone won’t solve everything, but it will be a big leap in the right direction.

I also need to claim what I really want.  I mean, I wish I was fit and trim, but we all know that I have to do a lot more than wish to be at goal.  It looks like I’m going to have to fight a hell of a lot harder than I did when I started my journey, and I have to accept that.  End of story.

I need a routine too.  I’m always on the go, and I don’t spend a lot of time in one place.  Just in the last few months I’ve been in Colorado, Virginia, D.C., New York, Houston, etc.  And over the next couple of months I’ll be in New York again, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Dallas (maybe Oklahoma too.)  Traveling a lot means that I have to have a different game plan.  I lost weight when I traveled before so I know it’s possible, but I have to be mindful.

I’m also lacking accountability.  I left Weight Watchers again recently after another bout of frustration with PointsPlus, and now my meeting no longer exists.  Say what you will, but weighing in at meetings every week changed my life.  I need to find a new meeting and make it my highest priority again.

I’ve gotten lazy with my workouts too.  Sure, I do them occasionally, but I love working out.  I crave endorphins nearly everyday so why the hell am I not doing it?  I don’t have a gym membership anymore, but there’s nothing stopping me from joining another one.  I’ll work that out this week, but until then I will do 30-Day Shred at home at least 5 times over the next 7 days.

I could drone on for hours about why it’s hard and how it’s not fair that I have so much further to go than the average person who loses as much as I’ve lost, but lamenting the work I have to do will not bring me closer to my goal.

I still say no to myself a lot more than I say yes, but I’m not doing enough.  I know that, and I take responsibility for that.

The fact is that my actions don’t help or hurt anyone except me.  I’m surrounded by people who love me and want me to be happy and healthy, but I have to get there on my own.  I’m happier than I was at 400+ pounds, but I’m not as happy as I’ll be at 150 pounds.  And it’s not because I don’t think I don’t deserve to be happy now.  It’s because I know that I am capable of so much more.

I’m preparing a life for myself in which obesity will no longer define me.  I’m in school studying Public Relations. (Yep, I declared recently.)  And I’m dreaming of a day when I can claim what I want for myself in my career and in relationships without the worry that my body is keeping me from fulfilling my desires.

This is my reality, friends.  This is my struggle, and no one can fix it except me.  Last week I admitted that I don’t know how, and sadly, I have not found the answer yet.  The truth is I can’t imagine stepping on the scale and seeing 275 or 250, or 199.  (I could see  the first number in the next month or so, but it feels as far as Mars!)

I don’t know how I did what I did the first time.  I don’t know how to wake up every morning with purpose.  I don’t know how to convince myself that today is the day (not tomorrow.)

I feel an utter lack of confidence and an overwhelming amount of insecurity, but I know what I want today.  I know what I want for my future, and I know that it’s mine for the taking.  I also know that I don’t have to get to my goal before I can start feeling on top of the world again.  I know I just have to start moving toward it.

This is my journey, and I’m doing things on my time.  I just need to turn the clock on again, and I need to remind myself that I’m worthy of it if I’m willing to work for it.



How Often Do You Buy Groceries?

I find myself at the supermarket at least a few times a week.  I things like chicken breast and turkey burgers in bulk, but I stop in regularly for fresh produce and other things that sound good one day and not the next.

This isn’t a great habit because I often buy unhealthy foods on a whim, then I eat them.  I’m trying not to do that right now, and I’m okay at least today.

How do you handle it?  How often do you find yourself at the grocery store?


Cupcake Question

While we were in New York last week we ate cupcakes from Crumbs, one of my favorite cupcake shops in NYC.  Kelly brought a variety of them to my little birthday dinner, and we all shared them.  Even ‘The Suit’ had a bite or two even though he’s not a fan of cake. (I don’t understand this at all, but I accept it anyway. Hehe…)

Our first night in the city was not without cupcakes either.  We shared three little 50-calorie cupcakes from Baked by Melissa.  Actually, he took a bite of one, and I ate the other 125 calories or so by myself.

I didn’t go as overboard with cupcakes as I have done in the past, but I had three little ones the first day and the equivalent to almost one big one on the second day.  I ate them and enjoyed them so when The Suit learned that I’d probably get one the following day he asked me why.  At first I was aggravated by the question, but I soon became aggravated that I didn’t have an answer.

He did not say “You don’t need another cupcake, Kenlie.”  He did not say “Why would you eat another when you’ve had so much?”  He didn’t ask the question in judgment at all; he asked it out of curiosity.  He seemed surprised, and I felt a little defensive.  The best answer I could come up with was that I just knew that I wouldn’t be able to have one later.

When I realized that I was *not* actually craving one and that my only reason for eating one was that I might want one a month from now, I felt pretty silly.  Around anyone else I probably would have been embarrassed, but I felt relieved that I had found the answer to a question that I’ve always been too afraid to ask.  He makes me feel safe so I can be honest with him and myself, and at that moment I realized I had more thinking to do.

The truth is that I like cupcakes, but I don’t love them as much as I thought I did.  Since January I have expressed to Kelly and on my blog that I’m usually disappointed by cupcakes once I actually eat them, and the same is true now.  They’re good, but they’re hardly life-changing.  And I enjoyed the amazing company and experiences that I had last week more than any cupcake I’ve ever eaten.

Once again, I didn’t think about food as much when The Suit was around.  I thought about it, but it didn’t consume me.  I will remember a lot of things about our last day in New York, but I have no regrets about skipping the cupcake.  I could have had it, but not having it became a liberating experience for me.  On second thought, maybe I will remember not having it.  Maybe I’ll remember taking control of something that has tormented me far too long.

Regardless, I’m thankful for the person who asks tough questions with patience and empathy, and I’m thankful that every moment brings a new opportunity for me to make choices that make my life healthier and happier.  Who could ask for more?



Food For Thought

I’ve been away from the internet more than usual this week, and I’ve discovered something about myself that raises some interesting questions in my mind.

Over the last few days, I’ve been outside of my regular routine. I haven’t been at home, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time with ‘the suit.’ I noticed tonight that when I’m around him I don’t think about food as much. Actually, I really don’t think about it at all unless we’re deciding what to eat.

Earlier tonight I was hungry, but I didn’t crave anything in particular. And at lunch today with friends, we all enjoyed our meal. I just didn’t focus in on the food itself as much as I sometimes (okay, usually) do.

It’s a liberating feeling, and it’s not easy to explain to someone like him who doesn’t struggle with food addiction. Thankfully, he seems to understand my thoughts anyway, and he listens regardless.

When I mentioned it to him, he said that it’s probably because he just doesn’t get excited about food. He likes nice restaurants, and he eats when he’s hungry, etc. He just doesn’t think about it much otherwise. Does anyone else reading this feel that way?  Is that your goal?

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around this feeling because food has been such an important part of my life for so long, but I like this feeling. Actually, I love it! I love not thinking about it, and if I could bottle up this feeling, I’d do it.

Have you ever experienced something similar?  How would you explain it?

A Major Change

After a post I wrote earlier this week, I had to face some real feelings and thoughts, and while it’s not easy to share them, I’m going to.  Here’s where I stand (and where I’ve been standing longer than I care to admit) right now.  I feel stuck.  I weigh 12 pounds less right now than I did at the beginning of the year, but it has been far too long since I made substantial progress.

I’m not discounting the fact that I exercise like a champ on a consistent basis…nor am I belittling the fact that I’ve managed to maintain my 100 pound loss.  These are both incredible things, and I’m damn proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.  That said, I’m not happy with where I am now.  My eating habits need to change, and they need to change now.

As I write this post, I’ve just successfully completed the first day of a personal challenge that I hope will spring board me into weight-loss once again.  I’ve counted calories all day, and I’m ending the day having consumed 1,474 calories (most of which came from fruit, veggies, egg whites and other lean proteins.)   My workout today included 30 minutes on the elliptical (easing back into it after being off for a month) and a strength workout for my arms followed by 5 minutes on the treadmill.

You can't really tell that I was sweating buckets, but I was...And I like it that way.

People say that weight-loss is easy, but those people often miss the point.  I’ve lost 100 pounds.  I know how to eat, but sometimes I find it extraordinarily difficult to convince myself that it’s a good idea.  That’s the hard part, at least for me, so I’ve decided to eat about 1,300 calories on rest days and no more than 1,500 calories on workout days.  I’ll listen to my body and do my best to adjust, but I think this is a healthy and realistic window that will yield good results.

I like the gym, and  I like exercising outside when the weather allows it.  I love to sweat, and I love to feel my heart pumping because it makes me feel strong and capable and athletic.  Now it’s time to reintroduce healthy eating into my everyday life.  And I’ve decided that for the next 30 days (probably longer, but this is my initial commitment) I’m going to track my caloric intake.   I made a difficult and bitter decision to leave Weight Watchers shortly after they unveiled the new PointsPlus plan over a year ago, but I never fully committed to counting calories.  What can I say?  That was then, and this is now.  I’m going to try again.

I realize that counting points and calories both work as long as you do it consistently, but I’ve been fighting with myself over the last few months to figure out how I can make PointsPlus work for me.  I’ve posted several times about modifying the program to work for me by counting fruits, tracking EVERYTHING through the recipe builder, etc.  But the fact is that  a successful day in my WW tracker looks like about 2,400 calories, and that’s far too many.

I’ve wanted to believe that I could make PointsPlus work because I love the support of the meetings, and even more so because I feel so indebted to Weight Watchers for what the helped me achieve in losing the first 100 pounds.  I also adored my first leader in New York, Jen, and my current leader, Penny.  I’m also completely infatuated with David Kirchhoff, the most handsome, friendly and witty CEO of all time.  (Swoon.)   But the fact is that, I’ve complicated the new program so much in my head just to make it work at least a little bit, that the simplicity of calorie counting has been a relief today.  I’m not saying goodbye to Weight Watchers.  I’m just trying something new to see how it compares.

Day one of calorie counting was a success...

I’m tracking my intake through SparkPeople for a couple of reasons…First, because I like the people I know behind SparkPeople.  You all know Coach Nicole now, right?  She doesn’t know I’ve crossed over to the calorie counting side yet, but she will soon.  😉  And secondly, I love the SparkPeople iPhone app!  It’s fantastic!  In addition to tracking my caloric intake, I can also track my workouts.  I can even get specific with my strength exercises, weights and reps.  I’m in love with this app, and I like that it’s free.

So this is where I am.  I’m starting over again because it seems like the right thing to do.  And I’ve said before that I’ll restart as often as it takes.  It’s better than throwing in the towel or refusing to face the fact that I’ve become complacent with food, right?  Anyway, I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere…But I’d like to see my excess weight flee the scene, and I’m hoping that this big change in my routine will do the trick.

What’s the bigger challenge for you?  Food or exercise?  Do you track your calories everyday?  Do you track you intake at all?