Category Archives: Lifestyle

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?

Ten Habits That Make Me Stronger, Happier and Healthier

I enjoy social media and blogging (obviously.) I love seeing motivational quotes, encouraging verses from the Bible when I open my various apps. I also like to read varying  opinions on things that matter to me like body image, loving yourself, etc.

There are so many articles and “life hacks” about how important it is to be happy and to love yourself, and it’s true.  It’s amazing how much better life is when we love ourselves, but self-love does not simply come from within. Sure, that’s a super motivational thing to say, but it’s not true, at least for me.

I began loving myself when I realized that God loves me right now. He knew before I was born that I’d struggle with my weight, but He created me anyway. He doesn’t just love some future, more perfect version of me; He just loves me. My life has improved in every area since that realization, and it makes it easier for me to make practical decisions to love myself.

I created a list of things that have helped me move from feelings of failure and self-loathing to self-love:

  1. Focus on finding ways to help other people as often as possible. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by everything in our own lives, but when we take time to help someone else, just because, it feels good. Open a door for someone, buy someone lunch, surprise a co-worker with a coffee, or leave an anonymous, encouraging post-it on their desk.
  2. Look for the good in someone else, and take time to acknowledge it. People appreciate sincerity. Most of us enjoy receiving compliments too, so when I see a dress I think is pretty, I say it. If a woman at the grocery story has beautiful hair, I tell her. It’s so easy to take 5 seconds to encourage someone who may appreciate it. If they don’t, that’s okay too. (I’m telling you though…they usually do.)
  3. Let go of regret. Remind yourself that it’s okay to forgive yourself for the stupid things you’ve done. Apologize when you can, and do better next time. (I’ve had to do this one a lot, and it’s extraordinarily freeing.)
  4. Exercise. Endorphins are awesome. It’s easy to forget that when we’re not moving, but it helps our attitude, our self image and our overall health.
  5. Figure out what you like and what you’re good at, and do it. I have a few hobbies that I really enjoy. I like reading, knitting, singing and other things. Reading makes me more knowledgable, while knitting allows me to create pretty things. I’m a pretty good singer, and it’s fun to exercise that talent. All of these things are positive, and it’s impossible to love yourself if you’re constantly steeped in negativity.
  6. Be a good friend. If you want to be loved, love them first. Let them in, and let them know you. I used to struggle hard with this, but when I started doing things I enjoyed I started meeting people who liked similar things. It’s so much easier to have friends when you just accept that we all have quirks, and it’s okay.
  7. Replace the negative self-talk with positive truth. I used to beat myself up for being ugly, but the truth is that I’m not ugly. I have a lot of positive attributes, and now I choose to focus on those instead of harping on my imperfections.
  8. Wear a nice outfit, style your hair and take time to be well-groomed. It sounds superficial, but when I take a little time to paint my nails or apply lip gloss, I just feel good.
  9. Look for opportunities to improve. It’s important to improve and evolve, but it’s much easier to do that when you do it out of love instead of hatred.
  10. Make a plan. When we’re aware of the things we’d like to change we can look at them practically. Our weaknesses don’t have to be clouds to hang over our lives, they can be opportunities to progress. Sometimes those struggles become our strengths. (I love it when that happens!)

Being happy is important, but being joyful and at peace is more important to me. Joy is not the culmination of happy moments; it comes from knowing Jesus.

I’m obviously no expert. I’m just a person who has learned some stuff the hard way and makes the choice to love myself everyday. I’m an imperfect woman who takes responsibility for my issues as I strive to be healthy, strong and happy.

 

What’s Your Favorite Brand for Sneakers?

I’m doing my first official 5k race in a few weeks. I’ve walked many 5k’s, but I’ve never received a medal at the end of it. I don’t mind walking, but the idea of paying money to wake up early on the weekend to exercise in the heat has never really appealed to me. Ha

When my boyfriend asked me to do it I said yes without hesitation. I’ve always dreamed of being with a kind, loving man who will show up for races with me, and now I have that. My guess is that he’ll run the race, then wait for me at the finish line. I don’t want to slow him down, but I’ll be happy to see him waiting for me when I finish.

I’ve wanted to do this race every year since moving to New Orleans. Most of the cool races happen in my neighborhood, so it’s convenient, but this one is always appealing because it ends on the 50-yard line inside the Superdome.

I’ve been to Saints games, of course, but there’s something about jogging through the tunnels and onto the finish line, where I’ll receive a metal, that excites me. (What can I say? I have a flair for the dramatic.)

I’m looking forward to walking the race even though it’s going to take me over an hour to finish it. The timing doesn’t matter to me. I just love any opportunity to remind myself that I can do cool things.

I’ve been walking a lot over the last week or so. (Thank you, Pokemon Go!) And I realized even before walking all over town chasing Pokemons that I need new sneakers…badly.

Over the last few years I’ve moved away from Nike to New Balance, Asics, then Brooks. I loved the Asics so much that I wore a hole in one. I’m not particularly fond of New Balance, but the Brooks weren’t bad. I’m just not sure which brand I’ll choose now.

Do you have a favorite, go-to brand for sneakers? If so, which one?

 

Hydro Flask, Yeti and Ozark Trails

I drink a lot of water, and I should probably drink more now that we’re in the hottest part of Summer in New Orleans. The heat slaps me when I walk outside, so I never go too far without my Hydro Flask. I love it!

Hydro FlaskIt’s pink, it holds 32 oz of water, and it keeps water cold for 24 hours. What’s not to love about it? It doesn’t fit into my car’s cup holder, but the tight lid keeps me from worrying about that. It also fits into the cup holder on the elliptical at my home gym, so I’m a big fan.

I don’t put anything in my Hydro Flask except water. I used it for iced tea once recently, and it just felt wrong. No matter what I’m eating or drinking water is still my go-to, and that’s the only thing you’ll find in this bottle.

Nearly 8 years later I still don’t drink soft drinks. I like sparkling water (plain, unflavored and extra bubbly is my favorite,) but I also drink tea and coffee. I’m obsessed with protein shakes right now too, and I love drinking them on-the-go. Of course, when I learned about the Yeti last year I wanted one, but I didn’t get one until my friend, Ann, gave me a gift last week.

Yeti TumblerI got the Yeti 30 oz Rambler on Thursday, and I love it! Later that day the order I placed for a 30 oz Ozark Trails tumbler arrived. The Yeti, which I bought at Academy, was $39.99. (Thank you, Ann!) And I love it!

The Ozark Trails 30 oz tumbler that I purchased from Walmart was $9.74. They look identical, apart from their logos. I decided to keep them both, so I gave the Ozark Trail to Michael after doing a little side-by-side test. (He wouldn’t use the Yeti anyway.) They both hold ice for hours, and they fit in out car’s cup holders.

They both do the job they claim to do, and I can’t see any reason to spend $40 on the Yeti (unless a friend gives you a gift and demands you to get the Yeti. hehe) I haven’t tried anything hot in my Yeti yet, but I doubt I will while it’s over 100 degrees everyday.

The Yeti Rambler is awesome, and the Ozark Trail tumbler seems to be equally awesome. Neither of them compare to the Hydro Flask though. It’s not even close. My water stays ice cold in the mid-afternoon heat of Summer while it stayed cool in the Yeti, but they’re made for different things.

It’s easier to carry my water bottle to the gym, but it’s easier to keep my protein shake ice cold in the steel tumbler. There’s no way I’d put a shake in my Hydro Flask.

Do you own any of these products? If so, which one is your favorite?