Category Archives: Lifestyle

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…

 

Finally! Happy Monday!

I feel so much better! It’s been almost a month since my surgery, and I finally feel like myself again. I’m walking more, spending time with friends and getting back to normal. I’m even going into the office for a while today.

It hasn’t been easy, but it seems like the hardest part is over. Now I just need to continue trusting the process, being patient and living my life without focusing on the scale for a while. I think if I do those things, my weight will decrease without me worrying about it.

The last several days have been good, and I’m so incredibly thankful for it.

 

The Aftermath: The Truth About Weight-Loss Surgery

I seriously wish I had something to talk about right now, apart from my surgery and healing process, but I don’t. It has consumed the last two weeks since I’ve been home from the hospital.

Today was emotional for me, just like many other days in the last two weeks. The difference today was that I feel stronger than I have in a while. My heart still races when I walk out of my apartment down the long hallway, to the elevator, then to another elevator, then to my car. I’m still nervous each morning as I step into the shower, but I’m doing it.

I’m struggling with the things I’m missing right now:

  • Eating Food – I haven’t chewed a piece of of food in a month, and I still have a week and a half to go.
  • Singing – I can do it, but it takes my breath away. Leading people into worship at church is one of my favorite privileges, but I need to continue to heal before I do it again.
  • Snuggling and Hugging – We can hold hands, and we do. I just can’t curl up with him to watch a movie or anything. My top love language is physical touch, so that’s been difficult for me. I haven’t hugged many people in the last few weeks, which is categorically unlike me.
  • Shopping – I like the instant gratification that comes from doing things like this, but I’ve been too tired to bother.
  • Cooking – It would be too hard to cook right now since I can’t eat, but I’ll be able to make a few recipes from SkinnyTaste.com in the coming weeks. I can’t wait because I just want to feel normal again.
  • Spending Time with Friends – I had a couple of visitors this week, they brought so much light into my day! I’m so thankful that I have such amazing friends. I just miss seeing them and doing things we usually do together.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining, and I’m not trying to. I’m just trying to express how difficult it is to experience all of these changes at one time. It’s insane.

A few times today I cried and said that I wished I could take it all back and that if I could go back in time I wouldn’t go through with surgery. I know how stupid that sounds even as it’s coming out of my mouth. I just want want to feel like my old, energetic-enough-to-get-through-the-day-and-night self.

What I have been reminded of over the last couple of weeks is that I’m surrounded by people who love me. Mom and Michael are both sincerely willing to do every little thing I need. I’ve acted like a baby. I’ve been difficult to handle because I’m dealing with anger over being hungry and tired. They’ve both stopped me in my tracks and prayed for me until I felt better.

Dad is coming to visit next week, which makes me happy too. I’m also feeling so much better today that I think I may head back to work next week. I’ll probably work less than I do regularly, but it gives me something to look forward to.

It’s still hard, but it’s getting easier. I’m finally out of the haze of discomfort that I’ve been in, so I’m starting to feel like things might be okay soon. The hardest part is almost over, and that’s a relief.

Surgical recovery is different for everyone; I know that. I also know that no one seems to remember being in so much pain or needing much time to heal, so I’ve documented this pretty closely. I don’t want it to define me, but I also don’t want to forget how hard I had to work for this.

When there’s a time down the road when I have to do something hard I’ll look at posts like this one, or the posts about the 5k I finished in last place when I weighed well over 350 pounds. I’ll remind myself that I’ve gone through hard things before and that I can do it again.

 

 

 

 

Less Than Two Weeks After Weight-Loss Surgery

It’s been almost two weeks since I had surgery. I wish I could say that I feel better, but I don’t. I actually feel pretty terrible. I’ve made some great strides in terms of healing. I don’t feel pain or bloating anymore, which is awesome. I’ve dropped about 40 pounds, which is also awesome. I’m just miserable too.

Saturday I spent the day in the emergency room because I was dehydrated. My dear friend, Brandon, came down from New York to visit me. He brought me tea from Starbucks (and gift cards to use when I can tolerate it better later.) He spent time inside with me, but on Saturday we ventured out for a walk.

brandon-and-kenlieMy energy level is at zero. I’m not in much pain at all, but I’m exhausted. Just taking the elevator and walking the length of the lobby to him made me tired and shaky. He knew we’d go slow, and we did. After stopping several times on one block (the length of my building) I told him I could go another block. I was wrong. 

We stopped so I could lean against a wall, and he snapped a selfie of us. He immediately noticed that I was leaning into him, cold and sweaty and started walking back toward my building.

When we accessed the back entrance I immediately sat down. I felt dizzy and sweaty even though I also felt cold. I think I passed out because the next thing I remember was Brandon saying, “Kenlie, wake up. Look at me. Focus on your breathing. Keep your eyes open.” It felt like this phase lasted for an eternity, but they said it was about 20 minutes.

At that point Brandon called Michael, who was upstairs doing my laundry, and he came down. They quickly made the decision to call an ambulance, and Michael went into first-responder mode. (He’s an Eagle Scout, and he used to work as a first-responder, which I was thankful for yesterday.) Bran continued to get me to look at him, and all I can remember is looking at his chin and trying desperately to open my eyes.

The ambulance arrived in less than two minutes – one of the perks of living in the center of downtown, and it only took about two more minutes to reach the hospital once they hooked me up to fluids and checked my vitals.

I spent the next several hours at the emergency room, where I was greeted by a friendly anddehydrated empathetic doctor. When I told him what was happening he said he’d be miserable and much crankier than I  if he had only had 60 calories so far too.

They ran several tests and gave me two liters of fluid. The second bag even had a few added calories, and I was relieved that I’d be hydrated again soon. (Seriously, can’t I just lie around with an IV for the next few weeks?)

After several hours they released me and told me to see my primary at some point early in the week.

I know I’ve said it already, but this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done…ever. I’m exhausted all the time, but I’m finally able to sleep in bed. I couldn’t do that a week ago. I haven’t eaten anything since September 15th, which was almost a month ago. I don’t know anyone who had to do liquids that long prior to surgery, and I’m still a few weeks away from eating semi-solid foods like eggs and mozzarella sticks. (That’s a day I’m looking forward to.)

In a few days I can start consuming pre-made protein shakes, which should help because the powder one I usually love is currently the most appalling and disgusting thing on the planet. I seriously have more disdain for the protein shakes than I do for the current presidential candidates!

I can also start “eating” Greek yogurt in a few days, and I hope my body can tolerate it because I’d like to take advantage of the fact that we finally have a Trader Joe’s in town.

My mom has been my champion, and my boyfriend has been amazing too. Their love for me is so evident, and I’m thankful (even though I’m also cranky.) Dad is coming down to visit later this month, and I hope and pray that I’m doing better by then.

Right now I’m struggling. I can’t believe I did this to myself. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be this hard. If I had known I wouldn’t have done it. I’m not kidding.

People who have experienced this surgery say that I’ll look back at some point and think it was worth it. I hope that’s true. I’m pretty sure I know it’s true, but it doesn’t feel that way right now.

I live my life by choosing to look at the positive, but right now it’s hard to see. I hope I see the bright side soon because I can’t be bothered being sad for long.

Better Than Yesterday

My attitude changed dramatically after yesterday’s blog post. People started praying for me, and Michael and I prayed together too. It was so cool to realize that while I was intentionally worshiping God I felt no pain at all.

I was a little sore throughout the second part of the day yesterday, but I went to bed last night in very little pain and woke up the same way. I also accomplished a major post-surgical goal (insert poop emoji,) which felt great.

I’m still tired after basic things like showering. It’ been a week since I’ve cared about my hair and makeup, and I still don’t care right now. All I’m doing these days is drinking liquids and walking. I have also spent more time outside in the last few days because the weather has been perfect (at least as perfect as it gets around here.)

Life is so quiet right now, and I’m more disconnected from the internet than I can remember. I’m thankful that I have this break and even more thankful that I have some fun things to look forward to later this week.

My favorite guy from New York will be here this weekend, and it has been way too long since I last saw him. Michael and I also plan to spend some time with friends from our church in a comfortable environment that won’t be difficult for me.

I’m also down 30 pounds since the liquids phase began almost 3 weeks ago, which is a small reminder that the foggy pain I felt most of the week is worth it.

 

 

I Don’t Want Everything To Change

I’ve been extremely open about the fact that I’m having weight-loss surgery this week, and the majority of people have been encouraging.

I keep hearing that my entire life is about to change, and people say that with such hope. That statement, which always comes from well-meaning people, is so discouraging to me.

I don’t want my entire life to change. I want to get my weight and habits under control, but I’m already genuinely happy with my life. I’ve had to work through a lot of things to get to this point, and I just want everyday things to be easier.

My relationships with God and among friends and family are stronger than ever, and I have the love of a man who has walked in my shoes. He’s the one I’ve been waiting for, and I honestly feel like I couldn’t ask for more.

I have a job that allows me to share joy with people everyday. I get to offer hope to people when they need it, and they encourage me as much as I encourage them.

Mom’s health has improved significantly since she had strokes in April, and Dad seems pretty healthy too.

My home is cozy and comfortable, my church family is awesome, and all of these things make this season of life a beautiful one.

I feel more loved, fulfilled and valued than ever could have imagined, and I don’t want any of this to change. I just want my body to shrink. I want to move more easily throughout the airport as I fly to Colorado with Mom and Michael at Christmas, and I want to enjoy certain activities that are currently prohibited due to my size.

I believe that change is a good thing. I never want to stop evolving, so when I hear someone tell me that it’s all about to change I try to remember how much has changed already. So many things had to fall into place before major surgery/weight-loss became an option.

Good grief! I’m tired of focusing on the topics surrounding my body, and I’ve taken time to serve in areas that allow me to focus on other things. I just can’t escape these thoughts right now. I’m so excited, nervous, happy, anxious, ready, curious, etc.

I’m just ready.

 

 

 

Less Than One Week

I felt much better today than I did last night, and I’m thankful for that. I’m still hungry, and I spent a big part of the day dreaming about the ounce or two of chicken that I’ll be able to eat about 7 weeks from now. Instead of chicken I forced myself to drink protein and water. I’m more tired than usual too, but I’m down over 14 pounds from last week. That’s encouraging.

It’s hard to think about anything else at this point, and I suppose that’s okay. I’m tired of talking and thinking about it, but it’s one of themes important things I’ve ever done. My surgery is less than one week away, and I’m just ready to get through it. I’m not looking forward to being in the hospital, but I am looking forward to returning home to start the healing process.

sakroots

In an attempt to take my mind off of my hunger I spent some time looking for black boots online, but I didn’t find any that I wanted. I’ll just need to look for them locally because it’s too hard to know what will fit well.

I did find a pair of rain boots, and they’ve been on my wish list for quite a while. I ordered them because I already know the size and fit, and I’m looking forward to a rainy day in October when I can wear them.

While online shopping I paused to watch the series premier of Designated Survivor. I had high hopes for it because I adore Kiefer Sutherland, and it didn’t disappoint. The first episode was great, so now I have two fall TV favorites.

I’m worn out, but I’m okay.I’m resting well at night, but it doesn’t take much to wear me out. I ordered the vitamins that I’ll need, so I’m looking forward to having more energy soon. Until then I’ll just continue to take it day by day and look forward to next week, when what seems to be the hardest part, will be over. I hope I’m right about that.

 

 

I Want To Cry…and Eat Food…

I’m a week into the liquids phase. I’m down 13 pounds so far, but today wasn’t easy. I went into the office and chatted with my boss, who is also a dear friend, and I left after less than an hour. I just didn’t want to be there today, so I left.

A big part of my job requires talking to people, which is my favorite thing about it. I just had trouble finding my smile this morning. Thankfully, my amazing support system extends to work, and I was able leave without issue.

When I left I met Michael at the movies to see “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” then we watched “Snowden.” I don’t think I’ve ever watched two movies in the same day at a theater, but tickets are dirt cheap on Tuesdays. It was a great way to zone out and to take a break from thinking about the lack of food and my upcoming surgery. Surprisingly, I wasn’t bothered by the smell of popcorn, but as we were leaving the theater I was hungry even though I brought protein shakes with me.

When I came home Michael joined me here too, and we had a great evening. I’m so thankful for that man. He’s the kind of man I’ve always dreamed of spending my life with, and it’s even more amazing than I hoped it would be. He’s my strong arm, and he knows what I need before I say it.

Tonight I needed to curl up and relax, and he knew it. I’m much sleepier right now than I usually am, and I don’t know if there’s anything I can do about it. I’m just going to rest as much as possible and remind myself that I’m halfway through this first phase.

When Michael left I cried for a few minutes. I can’t explain exactly why, but the tears have come and gone a few times today. It probably doesn’t help that it’s almost that time in a girl’s life. (Ladies, you know what I mean.)

Right now I’m hungry, but I’m going to go to sleep feeling victorious once again. I’m just hoping that tomorrow will be better than today.

 

Before Photos and Courage

I’ve always been a fan of photos, and I’m never one to shy away from the camera. I’ve gotten so good at using specific angles and filters that I don’t always see myself as heavy as I am.

I definitely know how big I am when I think about squeezing into a booth in a restaurant. ( I just can’t.) I’m also keenly aware of it when I’m a passenger in someone else’s car, or when I’m walking with people in the middle of Summer in New Orleans, sweating while they’re all just a little warm.

IMG_3535 2Sometimes I see myself as heavy as I am, but most of the time I’m not ready to face it. I didn’t gain back everything I lost, but I regained most of it. It doesn’t feel good, but I don’t beat myself up about it either.

I’ve learned to focus on the positive things, which is important. I just focused on loving myself so much for a while that I stopped focusing on other things that matter too. Now, I love who I am as a person, which took some serious effort and reflection, but I also want my body to be smaller.

IMG_3608 2I’ve been taking before pictures everywhere I go. I’ve posted some of them, though I don’t have the courage to post all of them. I’m proud of myself for continuing to live a full life, even as a plus-size person, but now that weight-loss feels imminent I’m facing the realization that my life hasn’t been as easy as it could be if I wasn’t so concerned with little obstacles that most people don’t have to face.

When I think of what life will be like after significant weight-loss I don’t picture a perfect existence, in which nothing bad ever happens. I don’t look forward to the attention I’ll receive from people who might ignore me now, nor do I even look forward to hearing how great I look in comparison. I already know that I’m loved and worthy. I’ve known it for a while now.

I’m looking forward to the feeling I get when I can run a mile or more without stopping. I’m looking forward to walking into a restaurant and not caring if we sit at a table or in a booth. I’m also looking forward to the day I can sit in the chairs at my church without leaving with bruises on my butt and without fidgeting through the sermon because it hurts to sit in the seats.

As you can imagine I’m really looking forward to the day in which I can buckle my seatbelt in coach (not that I want to start sitting exclusively in coach again, but I definitely can’t wait to know that I can!) In fact, I’ll happily fly in coach when I know I can do it in one seat.

IMG_3409

I know those days are coming, and I’m ready to experience them. The changes in the way I look at food and the way I eat it are scary, but I’m not expecting any surprises. I know what has to change, and I’m working on it. I’ve been working on it for a long, long time, and I’m finally getting some much needed help in that area.

I have the best support system I could ever hope to have, and I’m set up for success at work and at home. I believe I can do this, and I’m looking forward to the day that I can look back and say that I proved it to myself.

In the picture on the left I was laughing because I usually stand up straight. I roll my shoulders back just a little and walk with my head high, but I slouched for this “before” photo. I think I look hilarious and adorable in the photo, and I definitely don’t feel like I look as large as I am. I posted the photo because it didn’t make me feel bad about myself, there are many more on my iPhone’s camera roll that do. I’m ready to be healthy and fit. I’m ready to see some results, so the changes have started.

I’m ready for what’s coming, and I’m going to practice patience over the next several months as this new chapter unfolds.

 

 

What Do People Do For Fun That Doesn’t Involve Food?

I wish I didn’t have to ask the question in the title of this post, but it’s an honest question that needs some answers.

When I think about the time I spend with friends we don’t always eat, but i almost always consume calories. If we’re not meeting for lunch or dinner or happy hour, then we usually meet for coffee.

Everyone I know seems to agree that society places emphasis on eating together. I was at the a restaurant over the weekend where the menu stated “Food is Love,” which too often has been true in my mind.

Michael is super supportive, and he loves to go for walks around the neighborhood with me. He only lives a couple miles away, so it’s easy for him to come over and stroll to the Riverwalk with me. He walks my pace even though his is much faster, and lately we’ve enjoyed playing Pokemon Go together as well. There’s really no point to the game, but it’s fun. It’s also a great motivator to walk more. I’m not kidding. On our last walk I even hatched a Pikachu, which was really exciting. Ha

At home I can knit. It’s a hobby that requires both of my hands, so I can’t eat when I’m doing that.

I’m not sure what else to do. I know I can still go to Starbucks, read my Bible or color and enjoy my favorite hot tea, but what else is there to do?

As long as I can remember food has played an integral role in what I do with family, friends and even alone, and I’m ready for that to change. I’m just not sure where to begin.

I am excited about all of the money I’m going to save by not eating out or buying groceries in excess at home. That’s exciting, but I know that I need to replace my old eating habits with healthy new ones. Exercise works a little, but I can’t do that all day. And I definitely can’t expect my friends and family to stop eating and exercise instead every time I feel like going out.

I’m a social lady. I love to be around people. I enjoy cooking for them, baking for the them and just spending time with them. I know that there are people in my life who will not understand that, and I’ll keep them at a safe distance while I adjust.

I’d just love some ideas if you have any. What are some activities I do to replace going out to eat or having coffee with people I love?