Category Archives: Healthy Eating

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Week 2 with Weight Watchers

Today was the beginning of Week 2 for me, and it was the first meeting I’ve been to in ages. I’m happy to say that I’m down 5 pounds for the week, and I’m looking forward to losing more in the coming week. The meeting itself wasn’t earth-shattering, but the people were nice. weight watchersThey were discussing food finds that I learned about during my first jaunt with Weight Watchers in 2010. Seriously, they were talking about the same brands and products. They also discussed  fat-free dressings made by Bolthouse Farms that I wouldn’t dream of eating because it’s simply not food, but I didn’t mind these discussions. It was all so familiar, but I liked that. Unfortunately, the awesome lady who led the meeting was just filling in for the leader who was out of town. I am familiar with the other leader, and she’s been with Weight Watchers for 31 years. She knows her stuff, and she has a reputation for being tough. Maybe that’s what I’ll need. I’m just hoping I like this meeting even though there was no one my age there.

 

leafy greens with strawberries

This spring mix with strawberries, walnuts and more is one of my old favorites.

I joined just in time to participate in a 12-week Try-A-Thon, which is comprised of weekly goals to try something new. In my old New York meetings I had a reputation for loving Bravo stickers, and it’s still true. I was reminded of that today when I started thinking about trying new workouts and foods.

Last week I tried water aerobics, which was fun. It’s not a very intense workout, but it’s really enjoyable. I’ve also made an effort to create more interesting salads. I’ve made a few without lettuce, which is fun. I’m also trying to recreate some of my old favorites.

I still love everything I make from SkinnyTaste, and right now following recipes are in my regular rotation.

Spiraled Summer Roll Bowls with Hoisin Peanut Sauce

Spicy California Shrimp Stacks

My goal for the coming week is to eat more leafy greens and vegetables, in general. I also want to exercise at least 3 times, though 4 would be even better. I’m also committed to tracking everything I eat.

Kenlie

I felt pressure lift when I stepped on the scale today. It sucks to face the fact that I’ve gained so much back, but I am also relieved that I’m dealing with it now before gaining every single pound back.

I feel hopeful and encouraged, which seems like a good place to be.

Hello Again, Weight Watchers…

I’ve been pretty quiet about the fact that I rejoined Weight Watchers, but I have to say that I’m enjoying the new Smart Points system. I never liked PointsPlus. I mean, I couldn’t stand it! I didn’t care for Oprah’s commercials earlier this year either, but after some serious consideration I decided to rejoin. I still don’t know which meeting I’ll go to regularly, but I am much more open to it than I was when I looked for meetings in New Orleans years ago.

When I lived in New York I weighed in on Thursday evenings, and I noticed that there are two Thursday meetings less than 5 minutes from my office. I didn’t make time for them this week, but it’s on my schedule for next week.

I did cardio on the elliptical this week, and I also tried water aerobics for the first time after work. Can we talk about how awesome it is that I can walk from my office to the swimming pool in less than 60 seconds? 

Water Aerobics YMCA

Most of my meal choices have been pretty healthy this week too, and the trend, as always,  seems to be that I’m much more aware when I’m tracking my intake. I think I needed a break from that, but I’m enjoying the app now. It’s come a long, long way since the last time I used it.

I know that food, as it relates to my life, is a result of my lack of self-discipline. I’ve tackled a lot of major life issues over the last few years, and now it’s time to face this one. I’ve given this a lot of thought in 2016, but recently I decided to take action.

Overcome Issues

I hope to find a meeting filled with people who will become friends because the accountability is what I need most, and I’m thankful for the support and encouragement I receive at work and in my personal life.

I made a promise to myself years ago that I’d start over as many times as it takes, and that’s still true. I already know what I’m capable of, and now it’s time to prove it to myself once again.

 

 

 

Who’s Coming to ShiftCon?

ShiftCon is coming to New Orleans in December, and I’m excited to be a part of it this year. It’s happening right in my neighborhood too, which is an added bonus!

The last several years of my life have been filled with successes, changes and struggles to lose weight and regain control of my life. For a long time the driving force was losing weight to look and feel a certain way, and that’s fine. Heck, it’s important, but over the last several months I’ve shifted the focus to the little choices I make everyday.

There are so many areas for improvement, and as i follow the eco-wellness movement online I realize that there are lots of little things I can do to create a positive impact. I’ve also discovered brands that are making real, healthy and delicious foods, and I strive to support companies like that.

I don’t fit into the traditional role of the completely organic, non-gmo lifestyle that so many at this conference do so flawlessly, but it seems like a good idea to learn and experience as much as I can – especially since it’ll be in walking distance of my home this year.

I have a lot of respect for the founder of this conference, Leah Segedie, because she chose to encourage and uplift me at a time when I desperately needed it, and I admire her passion and tenacity.

Check out this video about the conference:

Is anyone here familiar with ShiftCon? Have you been to the conference? Do you plan to go this year? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

Shiftcon

There’s still a few more days to get the Early Bird discount, so check it out. And if you’re planning to be here, I’d love to hear from you.

 

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….

 

 

 

 

In My Kitchen

I did some baking over the weekend, and it was the first time my kitchen has smelled like fall this year. After grocery shopping Sunday I decided to make use of the pumpkin I bought, so I attempted to make pumpkin scones like the ones I saw at Starbucks last week.

pumpkin scones

They’re not low calorie, but knowing how many calories are in each one helped me stay on track. It also urged me to give most of them away! Ha..

They were so delicious that I promptly invited neighbors over to share them, so I could bake without being tempted to over eat my delicious treats. And they were a hit!

corn and beans

This simple dish is packed with protein and healthy fats, and it keeps me feeling full for hours.

I’ve been spending more time at home over the last month or so, and I’ve cooked a lot of healthy meals. I’ve also been doing meal prep, so that I can reach the little goals I’ve set.  It seems to be working well, and I’m rediscovering foods that I used to love. 

Breakfast is simple because I’m at home. I eat oatmeal, and lately I’ve been adding an egg and half a cup of milk before I cook it. It’s easy, delicious and filled with protein, which makes it my go-to meal in the mornings.

egg and oatmeal

I topped it with almonds and a tablespoon of brown sugar. It wasn’t low calorie, but it kept me satisfied all morning!

For lunch I typically make sandwiches on whole grain bread for the significant man that I vaguely mention here sometimes. We usually eat them with fruit and veggies, and sometimes we share a serving of chips too. (He knows that I don’t like eating sandwiches without chips. Am I the only one who feels this way?)

I’ve also made a few meals that aren’t as healthy, but I eat reasonable portions of those too. Last week I made BBQ Shrimp, which isn’t BBQ-ed at all. I impressed myself with this dish because it tasted like an authentic New Orleans meal, which it was.

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

I made it again over the weekend for my family, and they loved it too.

I also made a killer, lightened up grilled cheese sandwich last week and paired it with tomato soup and an ounce of kettle chips. (Seriously, is there any other way to eat a grilled cheese?)

grilled cheese

Sometimes you just need to make a gooey grilled cheese…

This week has consisted of roasted chicken, beef, chicken and broccoli stir-fry and other delicious things. I’ve skipped the calorie-laden lattes (for the most part) and enjoyed unsweet tea and iced coffee. (I love sugar, but not in my tea or coffee. Weird, I know.)

I have healthy snacks like mixed nuts, Laughing Cow Babybel wedges and more. I’m feeling good about the things that are happening in my kitchen, and I like seeing the the numbers on the scale as they go down.

What are you cooking up this week?

 

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.

 

 

Meal Planning

It’s been a long time since I did meal planning, but I’m working on a list for things that I can make and take to work with me next week. I typically work from the comfort of my home (or Starbucks,) but I’ll have to be more proactive with planning if I want my transition to go smoothly. 

I don’t know if I’ll have access to a refrigerator and/or microwave, but I’m assuming that I will. I want to prepare healthy snacks and lunches that won’t bother others. (I will not be the woman who makes popcorn at the office. It seems invasive to me.)

I know I could bring things like almonds, but the fact is that they don’t do much for me. I need to come up with some ideas that will be healthy, yet appealing. 

My plan is to pack fresh fruit in one container and fresh veggies in another. I also have olive oil popcorn from Trader Joe’s, which will be easy to portion out. I purchased some KIND bars earlier this week, and they’ll definitely make their way into my rotation as well. Maybe I’ll do almonds and string cheese. I have a stash of rosemary and balsamic chicken breast from Trader Joe’s as well. Greek yogurt should probably go on my list too.

I want to lose weight. I want to get my habits under control, and I think that this could be a good way to do it. Today I am making chicken and spinach soup, which shouldn’t have a strong scent if it’s reheated. It’s easy and delicious, and adding a little tortellini thickens it up nicely too. ( I think tortellini is fine since it will be portioned out.)

I haven’t been doing what a person needs to do to lose weight, but I’m going to give it another go. I think that with some planning, I can see success again. What do I have to lose (except weight?) 

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…

 

 

 

Adding More Goals to the List

Am I the only one who finds it hard to believe that it’s already December? It feels as though this year has flown by, but I’m okay with it being over. I’ve had some great moments, but this year has also come with some stress and disappointment (in love and within myself.)

I didn’t gain all of my weight back, but I’ve gained enough back that I no longer feel confident in my abilities. I’ve already shared that I feel like a failure in this area, and it’s still true.

I remember a time when I felt like a weight-loss champion. I also remember a time when fruits and veggies were a priority in my daily life, but they have once again been replaced by unhealthy, sugary alternatives.

When I was experiencing success before I was doing some key things that I’m not doing now: exercise and food journaling, and I was doing both consistently. (I’m sure that none of us are surprised that I saw good results.)

I’ve grown a lot spiritually, and I’m a much better person than I was several years ago. Life is better than it has been in a very long time (even when stressors pop up.) I’m happy with my life right now, but I’m not happy with my weight. It’s hard to explain that, but I’ve tried in numerous blog posts.

After having success recently when I eliminated sugary drinks and doughnuts, I’ve decided that I’m going to continue refraining from doughnuts. I haven’t had one since mid-September, and after months of overindulgence, it feels good to say no. I’ve been more careless with sugary drinks at Starbucks, but that ends now too. I can enjoy regular coffee, but I’m not going to allow myself to fall back into a routine of daily hot chocolates or caramel macchiatos.

I’ve also added tracking back into my routine, and I’m going to do it daily for the next 30 days. It’s an effective way to make sure that I’m eating what I should be eating, and I’m going to let go of the regret that I have due to my lack of faithful tracking until now. I’m going to focus on cardio 4 days a week too.

I’m completely different than I was when I tried this before. I barely even remember the person that I was. I’ve spent so much time looking at the way I lost in the past that I’ve overlooked who I am now. I’m going to start telling myself that I can do this and challenge myself to take steps in the right direction.