Category Archives: Motivation

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. 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Motivation Monday

Monday was my least favorite day of the week until last month when my gentleman friend started exercising with me after work. Mondays are kind of long, but they’re much more enjoyable now that I’m in a healthy routine.

The guy and I workout at different gyms, but he lives close enough to me that it’s easy to join me for a workout at the gym upstairs. I want to start jumping in the pool after our workouts, but we’re usually ready to eat dinner by the time we’re done.

We eat together a few times a week, and the majority of meals are at my place because I love to cook. He’ll eat anything I serve too, which makes it easy to want to feed him. Ha…

I’m working toward some pretty specific fitness goals that I”ll discuss here more in July or August, and it’s amazing to have his support, in addition to the encouragement I receive from my family, friends and co-workers.

I’m in a healthy place right now, and I want to continue improving in this area. I feel incredible after a sweaty workout, and sweaty selfies are still my favorite. (I suppose I should take some more of them.)

YMCA New Orleans

Gaining control of my weight is so hard, but I constantly remind myself that I can do all things through Christ. Seriously, I can’t even express how much my life has changed since I realized that God loves me and desires a healthy and abundant life for me.

It’s a long road, and I suppose it won’t end until life does. I’m okay with that now. The resentment I felt for far too long has been replaced by resilience. I know that I need to stay humble and accountable, and I am thankful for the loving people in my life who understand and empathize with that.

I have more energy than I did a month ago, and I’m looking forward to seeing more improvement in that area as I increase my level of activity.

Now it’s a new day, and it’s time to hit the ground running…(err, walking briskly…You know what I mean.)

Embracing My Selfie, Or Why I Take Lots of Pictures of Myself

I’ve been taking selfies since before they had a name. I avoided the camera for years, but at some point on my journey through life, it became common for me to snap photos of myself.

Kenlie

Last week I got to spend time with a long time blog friend, Cathy, who was in New Orleans visiting for a conference. When she told me about her upcoming trip, we knew we’d meet up, and we did. We met at Cafe Dumonde, where I resisted beignets. (Yay for me!) We also walked around Jackson Square, which is the prettiest part of the French Quarter in my opinion.

This woman has been my friend since at least 2010. The moment I saw her, it was like seeing someone that I hadn't seen in ages!

This woman has been my friend since at least 2010. The moment I saw her, it was like seeing someone that I hadn’t seen in ages!

As we walked down Royal St, we stopped at CVS to pick up a few things, and I found a selfie stick! I obviously bought it on the spot, and it’s the best $10 I’ve spent in a while. I haven’t used it to take any selfies because doing that would be ridiculous, but I’ve been in some hilarious group photos that wouldn’t have been possible without my Mono Pod de Narcissism.

I’m surrounded by an uplifting group of friends, many of whom take selfies, with exception of a few because they’re too narcissistic, and I understand that. I really do, and even though I kind of agree, I look at it from a different perspective.

There was a time when I hated myself so much that i avoided mirrors at all costs. I looked at myself long enough to style my hair and apply makeup, but I was mortified when I caught my reflection in store windows. I hated the way I looked in photos. I still took them, but I didn’t post them online because of my shame. For years the only photo that I had one Facebook was a picture of my hair blowing in the wind while driving with the top down. I didn’t want to be seen by others, nor did I want to take a look at myself either.

Sometimes I take full body photos to send to Ariel, so she can say yes to the outfit or no.

Sometimes I take full body photos to send to Ariel, so she can say yes to the outfit or no.

Now, years later, I’m still not skinny, but I love myself. I’m not pleased with myself for still having so much weight to lose, but I love myself. I haven’t accomplished every goal that I set yet, but I love myself. (You get the idea, right?)

Full body Selfie Lane Bryant

I also think that it’s okay to wear horizontal stripes even though I always hear that I shouldn’t. Whatever, folks. I’m doing it.

Sometimes when I take a selfie, I’m reminded of how much work I have to do. It’s also hard to accept the fact that I could have done so much more over the last few years. Those thoughts are important to face because it has helped me make better decisions over the last few months – decisions that bring me closer to my goal.

Gym Selfie

I was frustrated seeing myself in the giant gym mirrors when I took this around the holidays because I should be smaller now, then I remembered that I was in the gym doing something good for myself. I like capturing those moments.

Some days I post selfies because I want to hear that I’m cute, pretty, etc., and when that happens I admit it with proper hashtags. #PAYATTENTIONTOME

See? I have some pretty uplifting friends who encourage me when I need it.

See? I have some pretty uplifting friends who encourage me when I need it.

And some days (many lately) I take selfies because I feel pretty. I’ve been using a few products on my face since Christmas, and the result is that my makeup is still mostly in tact even after singing (sweating guts out) on Sunday morning. (Thank you, Smashsbox Photo Finish!)

Kenlie Naps

I took this selfie last week right before I took a long afternoon nap on my sofa. Sundays start early for me, so sometimes I nap.

Some people find success, at least temporarily, by tearing themselves down. I feel successful when I see myself and love the person that I see.

I have a lot to accomplish, and I’m happy to say that I’ve lost week for the last five weeks in a row. It may not sound like much, but I’m experiencing more consistency in my food choices than I have in a long time. I haven’t had a doughnut since September, and I haven’t indulged in any desserts in over two weeks.

I’m feeling good about my tiny steps in the right direction, and the selfies will continue to be a small representation of that. They might also lead to encouragement from people who care on days that I need that too.

Kenlie Car

How do you feel about selfies? Are they good? Bad? Do you care either way?

 

 

Aunt Janice and the Gym

When I woke up yesterday I felt a little lethargic, and I didn’t feel particularly motivated to workout (even though I knew I would.)  I procrastinated a little bit until Aunt Janice suggested that we go for a walk.  Walks with her tend to go on for miles so I agreed.

During our walk I told her how much I enjoy circuit training at the gym.  I told her about the ladder, the metal wall, the bosu ball and planks among other things, and we decided to cut our walk short and hit the gym.

We did circuit training in two minute intervals, and we did the things I just listed in addition to tackling the rowing machine,  the KeepItUpDavid Machine, I mean StairMaster, pulling the sled around the track and working our upper bodies before relaxing in the sauna.  By the time we left the gym we were both drenched from head to toe, and it felt awesome.

I was channeling Keep It Up David during this workout.

When we started doing planks she dominated them!  She held her pose for over a minute, and I beat my own personal best reaching 18.8 seconds.  (Hey! Don’t judge me.  A little over a week ago I didn’t know I could do them at all!)

Now that I know I can plank I'm determined to make it last longer.

And one of my new favorite workouts is climbing the wall.  It doesn’t seem tough at all, but if you do it long enough it will make you sweat.  I’m definitely sore as a result of that little wall!

I can't look to the side when I get higher. 😉

Upper body....Boom!

I’ve never really been a fan of working out with someone else, but that certainly has changed recently.  I’ve done cardio workouts with friends before, but I’ve never had anyone push me until recently.  Having someone there to tell me to keep going when I think I’ve pushed as far as I can inspires me to do more, and I’m definitely looking forward to more of that.  And may I just say that I adore the sauna?  (What can I say? I love to sweat!)

I have a full day planned which will include some fun stuff, but I plan to hit it hard at the gym again this morning.  What are your plans for the day?  What kind of workout will you do?

 

 

Reader Questions: How Do You Stay Motivated?

When I started this blog, I really had no idea that anyone would care about what I had to say.  Receiving comments and e-mails is one of my favorite parts of blogging! And while I still plan to dish out my unsolicited opinions on a regular basis, I also welcome your thoughts and questions.

If you have a question or comment about clothes, food, workouts or anything else I ramble about incessantly, feel free to submit the question by going to the “Ask Kenlie” tab at the top of my blog.  It might even appear on my blog at some point.

I’m still catching up with e-mails, and one of the recurring questions is about motivation. Obviously, I’m no expert. If you read my blog, you know that I am constantly searching for motivation, often lacking it, finding it then starting over again. But I’ve been doing this long enough to know what works when I’m doing it right. 😉

Ashley writes…

Hello,

I too, am overweight. According to all the charts I am “obese.” And the very sad thing is, I haven’t always been. B/w poor diet, lack of exercise, quitting smoking, and medication, my weight has gotten out of control. I would love to know what motivates you to get up every day and lose the weight. I can’t seem to get motivated. After college, I lost a lot of weight and was wearing 4’s and 6’s. Now I am 32 and wearing an 18, and I am not motivated to get up and lose weight every day. I am only 5’3 so, the extra weight is hard on my body and my bones. I am feeling the extra weight with each pound and each Birthday.

I would love to hear your thoughts and get any feedback that might help me get going and sticking to it.

Thanks for your time and being there to inspire others.

~Ashley

Hi Ashley,

This is a tough question, but here are my thoughts. I’ve said before that we often look around for motivation when we should be looking within for the will. And it’s true. I think we often confuse motivation with willingness.

Some mornings I wake up ready to complete a killer workout.  More often, there are days in which I spend the entire day making excuses in my head about why I can’t workout or why I should do it later. But I know that those are the days in which dragging myself into the gym or outside for a walk are the most important days because by doing it (even though I don’t feel like it) I’m proving that I’m worth the effort. And that willingness and confidence breeds motivation.

This journey is ebb and flow. Sometimes I do everything right – I track my food intake, exercise, eat fruits and veggies, sleep at a decent hour. And other times I fight tooth and nail with myself. At the end of the day, at least for me, it’s not about feeling motivated to make healthy choices. It’s about being proud of myself for finding the will to make healthy choices.

And as far as exercise goes, pick an exercise you like. And look, “I hate every exercise” is not a good answer. Think about it…try swimming or riding a bike or loading your iPod with upbeat tunes and taking a spin around the block. Just start somewhere. Do more today than you did yesterday because those little successes add up and create big results.

Thanks for reaching out Ashley!  I sincerely hope that you find that willingness and start taking steps in the right direction.  It sounds like you have already overcome SO MUCH! Congrats to you…Now it’s time to add one more thing to the list.

Best,

Kenlie

What do you think?  What can Ashley do to find motivation?  What do you do when you fall into a rut?

 

Sometimes It’s the Little Things

Yesterday was such an incredible day.  Nothing extraordinary happened, but I felt like a rock star so I made a little video in an attempt to capture the moment.  It’s incredible what a couple days of sweaty workouts can do for a person.  I literally feel transformed! And instead of concentrating on what I wish I had done differently or how long it has taken to get to this point, I find myself appreciating what I have accomplished. Sometimes small accomplishments matter the most, and they definitely mattered most yesterday.

The video was recorded on my iPhone as it was getting dark after Megan and I did Level 3 of the 30-Day Shred and did two mile walk/run intervals so forgive me for the poor quality.

I Think I Need To State My Goals

For more than a year, I have attempted to complete at least 1,000 minutes of cardio or more per month, and I’ve been successful since 2012 began.  I’m happy about that, but I think it’s time to change my focus a little so here are my goals for the month of May:

  •  Complete at least 1,000 minutes of cardio – a piece of cake when I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing…
  • Complete at least 10 5k’s – I’m pretty sure I did this in March and maybe other months, but now I plan to document it.  I completed my first one today.  Only 9 more to go!
  • Lose at least 8 pounds – I can and should be losing at least 8 pounds per month…period.
  • Do 101 crunches everyday – I’m going to start again after falling out of my groove.

These goals are attainable, but I noticed something last week that has made me keenly aware of what I need to succeed.  As I approached the end of the month, I noticed that my cardio goal was in jeopardy.  And I knew that because I skimped on workouts while I was in Colorado that I might have trouble reaching my 1,000 for the fourth consecutive month, and I felt like throwing in the towel.  The difference in my performance came from knowing that I’d post those numbers on my blog, and I wanted to post my achievements – not my failures so I succeeded.  I reached my cardio goal only moments before midnight on April 30.

The point is that posting my cardio goal – and even my goal for daily crunches (which has been a #fail lately) gives me the extra push that I need to do what I know I should be doing.  If you have a blog, you may already be aware of the power it yields in keeping you accountable.  At least, it does for me.

Announcing my monthly goals is (mostly) new to me, but I know from the sidebar on my blog that it works.  Do you have monthly goals?  Do you post them?  Does it work for you?