Category Archives: Lifestyle

Birth Control for Overweight Women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only 100 Pounds

I had a doctor’s appointment last week, and I strongly considered skipping it because I could sleep in and, more importantly, because I didn’t want to defend myself for only losing nearly 100 pounds in the last six months.

Most people would be thrilled to lose 100 pound in six months. Heck, I was thrilled back in 2010 when I lost 100 pounds in 13 months, but right now it doesn’t feel like enough. I mean, it seems like enough so far, but it’s hard to wait patiently to lose more. It feels like I’ve lost the majority of what I’m going to lose already, but hey…feelings lie.

I’m eating much less than I used to eat, and I’m slowly finding my way back into an exercise groove. I walk a lot more and a lot faster too. I could still be doing better – drinking more water, exercising more…It’s so much easier to walk though! I don’t feel like I’m waddling around, nor do I feel like I need to wear sneakers everywhere.

Today I rocked 4 in. wedges. Yesterday I wore my Chuck Taylor’s all day. (They’re sneakers, but they’re cute.) It was nice to get to the end of the active day without my feet swelling at all and without feeling tired.

Oscillating between feelings of progress and defeat made it difficult to walk into the doctor’s office because she hasn’t exactly been encouraging in the past. I knew I needed to push through it anyway though because I needed to discuss birth control options. (More on that later.)

When the doctor came in she acknowledged that I had lots a significant amount of weight since my first visit with her less than a year ago. She thought I’d lose 90 more than 90 pounds in six months, but she said I was making progress. Yes, and that’s encouraging.

Since that appointment last week I’ve dropped another 5 pounds, and I’m getting very close to the 100 pound mark. I don’t want to define myself by the numbers – whether I’m losing or gaining. I want to be at peace with the scale because I’m a lot better off now than I was.

I went back for blood work the following day, and I’ve never had such an extensive set of blood tests. They tested my vitamin levels, cholesterol, my thyroid, A1c and lots of other stuff, and they also did a complete STD panel as well. It all came back great! The nurse kept saying “wow” as she read the results, and I just smiled because my health is in a better place than it was at this time last year. I’m thankful for that.

Overall I’m thrilled with my progress. I strive not to compare myself to others because everyone’s experience is so different, and I feel at peace with where I am. A few pounds from now I’ll be lighter than I’ve ever been in my adult life, and that’s going to be a fun day. I’m looking forward to it and enjoying the days until then.

Have you ever felt like the progress you’re making isn’t fast enough or good enough? Did you learn how to make peace with it?

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Back Home from California

Last week I went to California. I started my trip in San Francisco, and it was immediately evident that I’ve come a long way since September. When I step on the scale it always feels like it’s not moving fast enough, but I’m getting smaller, moving better and enjoying life more fully. That means more to me than a number on the scale every could, so I’m pleased with my progress.

I met up with my dear friend, Leslie, in California, and we didn’t take an Uber even one time throughout our days in San Francisco. We walked up and down hills to go to dinner, to go shopping and see everything we saw. We spent the day (well, two days) at Nieman Marcus, and I was tired by the end of the day. I wasn’t exhausted though, and that was such a cool feeling.

We ate lunch at The Rotunda inside Neiman’s, and the lobster was delicious. The popovers with strawberry butter were just as delicious as i remembered, and they brought me back to the time when I lived in New York. I loved that experience, but I’m so happy where I am now. Who knew that a popover could bring me to such an awesome realization? Ha

When I arrived in Pebble Beach, where I would spend the next few days, I walked along the beach from Monterey to Pacific Grove. The scenery was so gorgeous that I didn’t realize how far I had walked until Leslie drove from home to pick me up. I remember how hard it was to complete the Saints 5k on flat land several months ago, but this time, even though I was wearing boots, I felt so spectacular that I felt brave enough to climb on rocks. I wish I could have gotten better pictures to show how far out I was on the rocks, but a selfie was the best I could do since I was out there alone.

 

It’s hard to explain how different I feel, and I’m thankful for that because I felt pretty rough in the weeks following my surgery. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how difficult it was to be so miserable, but that’s okay. It helps me remember how far I’ve come, and it encourages me to keep moving forward. Did I mention that I climbed around on rocks while overlooking the ocean? I wouldn’t have done that six months ago, so it’s a big deal to me.

Now that I’m home again I’m feeling pumped up. As fun as it is to go on an adventure it’s even more fun to return home to my fiancé, my friends and the life I’ve created here in New Orleans. That’s a great feeling too, by the way.

I started trying on clothes this morning, and everything was so big that it’s time to clean out my closet. There’s a giant pile of clothes on my bed now, so I’m going to sort through it and figure out what to keep, what to give away and what to toss. Michael and I will be married 3 months from today, so it’s time to start making some space for him too. He’s going to move in with me, at least until my our lease is up, so we’ll have adequate time to find our next home.

I’m working on some big goals that I’ll discuss in an upcoming blog post, and I’m thankful that I’ve finally found an exercise groove again. Life is pretty good right now, and I’m excited about what the next few months will bring.

Until next time…

 

 

 

Mardi Gras, Travel, Wedding Things and Such…

It’s been a few weeks since I said anything here, and I appreciate the messages and comments asking if I’m okay. I’m okay. It’s just a busy time, and blogging hasn’t been a priority. I have to say that I still enjoy it though, so I’m happy to be spending quiet time at home today.

I’m down a little over 80 pounds, which hasn’t changed much in the last month. I’m not exercising much, but I hope that if I exercise it will break this plateau. The numbers haven’t moved in the last few weeks, but I can wear jeans that I couldn’t wear at the beginning of the year. Two pairs of jeans that have been too tight since 2013 now fit again. One is even so big that people keep suggesting that I buy smaller pants.

The picture on the left is from about five months ago when I finished dead last at the New Orleans Saints 5k, and the picture on the right is from a few weeks ago. I’m obviously still big, but I feel so much smaller and lighter on my feet than I did that day. I’m incredibly proud of my progress, but I’m still striving to change what’s in my heart and head. My life’s purpose is not to lose weight; it’s to love people.

I’m doing an in-depth study of the book, “Made to Crave,” by Lisa TerKeurst, which unpacks the reality that God made us to crave Him, not food. People here have suggested that I read it in the past. Is anyone else reading it now? Has anyone read it?

It’s incredible how much my life has completely changed in the last several years, and I’m seriously ready for God to change this part of me too. The number on the scale is important, in that, I need to live at a healthy weight, but none of that will really change for good I don’t invite God in to really change the way I feel about food.

 

Speaking change…my wedding is only a few months away, and everything is going well so far. People keep asking if I’m stressed, but it hasn’t been stressful at all since I wrapped my head around the fact that I get to spend my life with Michael.

The venue, the food for the reception and the registries are complete. We’ve secured a block of hotel rooms, and the invitations are sitting in my kitchen waiting to be addressed. It’s still a bit early for that, I suppose, but I’m ready to do this. My soon-to-be sister-in-law is an event planner for one of the most popular venues in New Orleans, and she has been a tremendous help! I’m thankful for my future family of chefs too because they’ve made the process of choosing foods so easy for me.

I’ve always joked about want to register everywhere if and when I actually got married, and it was, indeed, as much fun as I thought it would be! It was most fun at Bed Bath and Beyond because they made a big deal about it, and I got to use the scanner gun thing. Target was cool too because I could scan things with my phone. There’s no way I’ll get everything that I scanned, but it’s okay. It was one of my favorite parts of wedding preparations so far.

Last week I came home to a gift from my Amazon registry, and I want to thank Connie for the beautiful salt and pepper shakers. I’ve loved them for years, and I was so touched to receive such a sweet surprise from someone from my blog. Thank you so much, Connie! It really made my day! I’m already using them, and Michael gets to use them too when I cook for him too.

Have I mentioned that I cannot wait until we live in the same place? It’s going to be an adjustment, but I’m looking forward to when I can go to sleep and wake up with him everyday. Is it June yet??

My plan (after blogging) today is to finish up our little wedding website. I enjoy quiet weekends from time to time, and I carved out some time to relax at home this weekend because it’s crazy in my neighborhood due to Mardi Gras and the NBA All-Star game. (Seriously, it took 45 minutes to get from my exit to my parking garage, and it usually only takes 3 to 5 minutes.) Next week I’ll be in San Francisco skipping out on the revelry, and I’ll be back when Carnival Season is over.

I’m looking forward to heading back to California because it’s been several years since I was last there, and any time that I get to spend with Leslie is awesome. She’s one of my closest friends, and I never would have met her if I hadn’t started this blog. Isn’t the internet cool like that?

Now Leslie is like family. I’m excited to meet up with her in San Francisco, and I’m excited that she’ll fulfill such an important role in my wedding this summer.

Life is good right now. It’s not always easy or perfect, but I have so much peace. I’m joyful and hopeful about what’s God has done and is doing in my life. I’m in awe, and I’m thankful.

 

 

 

Wedding Things

I can’t believe that January will be over next week. I have a long road ahead, but it feels good to be moving in a healthy direction. I’ve lost 80 pounds in nearly four months, and that’s just a fraction of the changes that are happening in my life right now.

I’m getting married in June, and last week we picked the venue, booked the date, decided on the cakes (yes, wedding cake and groom’s cake) and chose the menu. We’ll have 3 choices for the main course, heavy hors de vours and an open bar. Michael and I don’t drink much, but we figured some of our guests will enjoy it.

I came up with a wedding hashtag (because that’s how my brain works,) and I started a wedding registry on Amazon over the weekend too. (Who knew that was a thing?!) And we will probably register at Bed Bath and Beyond as well. Can’t we register at Target too? Ha…

It’s hard to shop for wedding dresses, but thanks to Kiyonna, I’m pretty sure I know which dress I’ll buy. Kiyonna is one of my favorite brands, and though my size is changing too much to order now, I’m looking forward to trying on the dress in the spring.

I’m thankful that companies like Kiyonna exist because, honestly, I’ve lost about 80 pounds, in addition to what I kept off before, and I’m still too big to have many choices at a place like David’s Bridal. Wedding dresses tend to run small (at least that’s what I’ve heard,) and they go up to size 26. That’s about where I am in now in traditional plus sizes. There’s just no way I’d be willing to order a dress without having an idea of how it’ll look or if it’ll even fit. No way, man….

The next few months will be busy. Michael is in the process of taking his CPA exams, we’re traveling a few times in the coming weeks and months, and we’re looking for a new place to live. I’ve been in the same apartment for nearly 5 years, but it’s kind of small for two people.

I’m looking forward to the changes that are coming, and I’m so thankful for everything happening in my life right now. 2017 is already a good year, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it even more.

 

End of the Year Reflections

I suppose the end of the year always makes me reflective, and this year is no different. Many of my friends are so glad that 2016 is almost over, and there’s something so hopeful about starting  a new year. I’m ready for that too, but 2016 was a great year for me.

At the end of 2015 I started going into an office everyday, and over a year later I had no idea that I could like that so much. I’ve always enjoyed being around people, but getting to work with the people I see everyday has added so much happiness to my life. I feel so much joy when I think about the people whose lives have been touched, and I feel thankful for those who’ve touched mine.

 

I struggled to let go of people who weren’t good for me at the end of 2015 too. Letting go of those people made it possible for me to meet someone who actually loves me.

I technically met Michael for the first time in December of 2015, but I started having feelings for him when we attended a Bible study together at the beginning of the year. That time of intimacy and healing among friends led me to fall in love with that man while allowing God to move in our lives and heal us from past hurts.

In the Spring I had the most terrifying experience of my life when Mom had, not one, but two strokes. I was so afraid of losing her for a while, but God was gracious once again. I knew at that point that I wasn’t turning away from Him, and I told Him that no matter what, I needed Him to continue holding me. God really showed off His strength in my weakness throughout that time, and my faith was renewed over and over as a result.

When the Summer came I got health insurance for the first time in a long while, and I found a new doctor who suggested that I have weight-loss surgery. My process was streamlined because of my experience with Weight Watchers, and on September 28th I went through with the surgery.

The surgery took much more out of me than I realized it would, and the healing process felt a little like hell on earth. I faced feelings of regret, fear and faced an unexpected lack of self-confidence. I was miserable for many weeks, but the weight started coming off. As hard as it was I am so thankful that I went through that process. I’m also thankful for the opportunities I have now to remind others that it will eventually be okay again…better than okay.

Throughout the post-op, healing process I was reminded how loved I am. My mom, Michael and a few friends did everything they could to make me happy and comfortable even when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was forced to recognize how loved I am for no reason other than people choose to love me. That was a pretty awesome realization.

Now I’m moving into 2017 planning a wedding to a man who makes my life feel like a Hallmark movie. Seriously though…we compliment each other well.  I don’t have dreams of a big, crazy wedding, but I can’t wait to get it done so I can wake up next to him everyday. I spent a big part of the afternoon researching venues and talking with friends who have gone through this process in the area. I think I may have found the perfect place, but I won’t know more until after the holidays (next week maybe.)

There’s so much to be thankful for at the end of each year, but this year has been pretty wonderful overall. It wasn’t all easy, but the positives outweighed the negatives for me.

I don’t think life is patterned in yearly segments, but I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings. I hope you are too.

Happy New Year!

 

He Asked Me To Marry Him Today

It was nearly eight years ago when I started sharing the details of my life here, and throughout that time I’ve grown and changed so much that it would be hard to explain to a stranger. Let’s just say that it has been an incredible journey filled with ups and downs.

This year wasn’t easy, but overall, it has been one of, if not the best, in my life, and it got even better today. Michael asked me to marry him, and I said yes. 

I’ve prayed/wished/hoped/dreamed of being loved by a tall, strong, handsome, smart, Jesus-loving man who understands me and accepts me for as long as I can remember, and at the beginning of the year I found him.

We have been through some major life events together over the last year, and today added a pretty big milestone to that list.

I didn’t think this week with my family could get any better than it already was, but Michael proved me wrong. This was already the best Christmas season ever, and now it’s even better than that. I can’t believe I’m going to be Mrs. Michael. 😉

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays…

 

Hello, Normality

Last week was awesome. I felt good all week, and I am still feeling continued improvements on a daily basis. I went back to work last Monday, and being there made me feel so much better! It made me feel normal, which is something I had been craving lately.

kenlie-and-dadDad came into town on Tuesday. I was so happy to see him because it’s been almost a year since I was in Oklahoma. He was supposed to be in early afternoon, but due to delays he didn’t arrive until almost 7 pm. I worked until he arrived, then headed to the airport to pick him up once he landed. I didn’t realize how close my office is to the airport until last week, but that’s a good thing to know.

cafe-du-mondeI didn’t work Wednesday, so I could spend the day with Dad. We drove across the Causeway just because, and we had coffee at Cafe Du Monde every morning. Dad had beignets too, but oddly enough, I didn’t crave them at all. I seriously have not wanted anything sweet since I started the liquids phase prior to surgery, and that feels like a major win to me.

 

He met Michael the night he arrived, and we all drove to Mississippi to have dinner with Michael’s parents the following night. It was such a great evening, and it felt good to know that Dad really enjoyed his time with Michael’s family. Our dads chatted over dinner for hours, and I managed to eat two pieces of sushi.

kenlie-in-msI ordered a naruto roll, which was filled with spicy crab and wrapped in cucumber. I didn’t eat the cucumber, but I did manage to eat the inside of two pieces. I also ate a shrimp, a scallop and a few bites of zucchini that Michael and his mom shared with me.

We all laughed when we saw the picture we took together after dinner because Michael’s dad doesn’t smile in photos. Michael joked that catching his dad smiling in a photo is like seeing Big Foot. My mom and I are spending Thanksgiving with them, so maybe I’ll have to tell him jokes. I’ll just need to come up with a few funny ones first.

On Thursday I had to work, so I brought Dad to the office with me. My space was being renovated (because I have an awesome director who recognized that I needed more room,) but it was cool to show Dad where I work. I even tried out my new desk and chair while he was there. That afternoon I had to attend a networking thing, so Dad went to that with me too. I kept apologizing that we had to go to the meeting, but Dad actually enjoyed himself a lot. I think we both learned a few things too.

Later that evening Dad joined me for rehearsal at church. I’m a vocal leader on the worship team, and it was so good to be back in rehearsal with my people. Dad got to visit with my pastor for a few minutes, then I took him to Trader Joe’s for the first time. After that, Michael joined us at my place for dinner.

Dad flew back to Oklahoma on Friday morning. I dropped him off at the airport then headed into the office. When I got there my boss, who is also one of the best friends I’ve ever had, thought I had gone in to work, but my plan was to exercise. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of exercising, but she insisted that I exercise instead. Everyone in the office felt that way. (How cool is it to work in an uplifting environment that also has a state of the art gym on site?) I walked around the track because the treadmill still makes me nervous for some reason, then I worked.

By the end of the week I was beat, but I still had a weekend to enjoy. I spent Friday night at home, and friends stopped by for a few minutes. I spent Saturday with Mom, and we shopped in a town that’s about an hour away from each of us. I bought a pair of jeans that was a size smaller than I expected, and I bought a few other fall items that were on clearance. (Why pay full price when my size is, apparently, changing?)

On Sunday I lead worship at church for the first time in weeks, and it felt so good to be back. Singing is one of my passions, serving Jesus and one of my passions, and I love connecting people with Him. I missed doing it, and even though I was a little more tired than usual, I jumped right back in. The entire worship experience was awesome, and after that I spent the day with Michael’s family. This time they came to New Orleans, and we had a great day. We went to dinner last night, where I ate a few bites of delicious food. I also spent a lot of time talking and trying not to eat too quickly.

I’m happy to say that I tolerated the foods I tried all week. My weight-loss seems to be stalled, but there’s not much I can do about that, apart from being more active and practicing patience. I’m adding to my step count each day, but I know that I need to be more intentional about walking. The treadmill still makes me nervous, but I made an exercise date with a friend tomorrow. She’s going to meet me at work, and we’re going to walk together.

After a relaxing Monday, in which I planned out my week and some holiday events, I am heading back into the office tomorrow. I’m progressing enough that I’m starting to feel good about it, but I am still dealing with emotions. (More on that later.)

I greatly appreciate every kind and supportive comment and all of the prayers and encouragement while I was healing. If you took the time to be there for me, then I sincerely thank you.

Let’s hope this is the beginning of my newer, healthier life…