Category Archives: Reader Questions

Reader Question: Where Do I Start?

It’s been a while since I’ve answered a reader question on my blog so today seems like a good day for it.   I’ve received so many messages from people who want to know where to start, and I know that it can be overwhelming so I’m asking for your help in answering their questions.  Take a look at this message from a lovely lady in the area, and tell me what you would suggest to help her get started on her own journey.

Hi Kenlie! I’m local and saw an article about you in the newspaper. Congratulations on your weight loss journey and for taking a stand against discrimination of overweight people. I am 280 lbs and know I need to take control of my weight. How do I even start? Moneywise, it is so much more expensive to eat healthy. I dont have the money to go to a gym. Any suggestions on getting started are greatly appreciated! Good luck on your journey!



Hi A,

Thanks for the message. It’s nice to hear from someone local!

It sounds like we weigh almost the same right now, and I have to tell you that I’m not an expert.  With that said, I’m happy to tell you how I got started.

I lived in New York, and my first step was joining a Weight Watchers group.

Weight Watchers taught me what a serving of food should actually look like which was great because I seriously didn’t realize how much I was eating.  Seriously, even if I ate only half of my old favorite dish at Chili’s, Chicken Crispers, potatoes and corn on the cob, I’d still be eating almost an entire day’s worth of calories just in one meal.   And that’s not even including appetizers, drinks or dessert!  I could easily add another 1,000 calories to that just with chips and salsa!

Yeah, I knew I was eating more than the average woman, but Weight Watchers helped me understand just how much I was eating and how to make better choices that were still satisfying.

Add 590 calories for the loaded mashed potatoes and corn on the cob for a total of about 2,250 calories for one meal.

And speaking of empty calories I cut out soda cold turkey in 2009, and it’s by far the best thing I have ever done for my body.  It was really hard, and it sucked for months.  I told myself that I could drink one later if I really wanted to, but eventually it lost its appeal.  I remember a time in my life in which I couldn’t fathom giving up sodas, and now the thought of it is just gross.

But the eating part of healthy living is still much harder for me than the exercise part, but I’m trying to tackle it.  I started counting calories about seven weeks ago, but I still weigh-in at a local WW meeting once a month or so.  The support you receive at meetings is priceless.

And I love the gym now, but I didn’t always feel that way. When I started trying to turn things around I started walking. Seriously, I didn’t walk fast or long, but I did more than I had done previously. And as time passed it took more effort to get my heart pumping which reminded me that I was getting stronger!

In addition to walking I also bought my first Richard Simmons DVD.   I own several now, but Party Off the Pounds is still my favorite. I found my copy at Walgreens, but you can get it online here as well. And to this day it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made in fitness. I didn’t have to worry about looking ridiculous (even though I’m sure I did at first.)  And it will definitely make you sweat!

And speaking of Richard, I was on Dr. Drew's show with him last week. And out of all of the pictures I've taken with him, this is the *only* one in which we're not smiling. Of course, we were discussing a very serious issue.

So in short A, I starting with walking and aerobics worked for me, and now I love to sweat!

In regards to food, try to replace something unhealthy that you’re eating with fresh veggies. I eat a 6 cup salad for lunch most days (romaine lettuce, 1 tbsp of light Caesar and 7g of mini croutons) with chicken or salmon (on the side) or some other form of protein like egg whites.

The most important thing is just starting somewhere right now instead of waiting until tomorrow or Monday or January,  then don’t stop.  Keep trying even when it feels like you’re messing up over and over.  Most people take a few steps forward and a few back.  Don’t get discouraged, and don’t quit.

Again, I’m no expert, but I’m surrounded by them.  In my experiencethe people here know what they’re doing, and they’re always willing to help so let’s ask them.

Thanks again for reaching out, and I hope you’ll do it again soon.




So friends…What advice can you give to someone who wants to change the way they live with food and exercise?  What’s the most important step in getting started?



Reader Questions: Loose Skin?

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.

This question struck me on a very personal level because it’s something that has crossed my mind many, many times in the last year.  And I know that some of my friends have faced this issue so let’s talk about it…


Dawn writes……
Hi Kenlie!

Like many others, I started following your blog after the kerfluffle with Southwest made the news. And, like many others, you inspired me to get back in the saddle and continue my weight loss journey. So THANK YOU! I had no idea there was an online community of “losers” who could inspire, commiserate, and share! Thank you for the introduction.

So, besides finally getting around to saying that, I also have a question. I’ve been watching the Extreme Makeover show where people lose a huge amount of weight in a year. I really don’t think it’s a good idea but it makes for interesting tv. (I assume they are closely monitored medically.) But, in the episodes I’ve seen, they are scheduled for skin removal surgery if they make their second goal. Is this something that you’ve thought about or read up on or anticipate? Is it the norm for people who lose more than 100 pounds? You are younger than I am (I’m 48) so perhaps your youthful skin is more elastic and you will not need surgery. I’m just curious to know if any of your weight loss friends have had it or are considering it.

I really enjoy your blog and I’m rooting for you!


Hi Dawn,

Thanks for rooting for me!  And thanks for this question.  It’s definitely something that I think about a lot though, at this point, I’m still so far away from my goal that it’s a dream more than a necessity.  I do believe that I’ll face this issue when I reach my goal, and it’s something that I’ve discussed at length.

My friend, Sarah, has lost  about 185 pounds and kept it off for the last 6 years.  You can read more about her here. She had surgery to remove skin shortly before I saw her last year.  I saw her again last week, and she looks fantastic!  You can see us here. But it took a long time to heal, and she had already spent years keeping the weight off.  She believes that one should lose as much weight organically before going into surgery, and we both agree that extreme weight-loss (as portrayed in TV) isn’t the best way to yield lasting results. In my opinion, they also fail to cover the psychological issues that accompany weight-loss and skin removal surgery.

I’m doing what I can to make the need for surgery minimal.  I workout regularly (cardio, strength training and muscle confusion) and have age on my side.  So who knows where I’ll be when I reach my goal?  I certainly can’t wait to find out!

Thanks again for the question, and stick around because I believe I’ll have to make decisions about this at some point – you know, later.




Have you had skin-removal surgery after losing a considerable amount of weight?  Is it something that you might consider?  Does it intimidate you as much as it intimidates me?

And one more thing, did the guy on Extreme Makeover Weight-Loss Edition last night really lose over 300 pounds in one year?! Did I hear that right?  If so, what are your thoughts?!



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…


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.


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.



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


Weigh-In Day and Reader Question

Today is Thursday which means it’s time for me to face the scale. And honestly, I don’t think it will be pretty, but I’ll face the music anyway because that’s how this works. That’s what makes me successful long-term. I can’t expect much because I didn’t put much effort into my week until Tuesday. But there’s a genuine smile on my face that hasn’t been here in a while, and that is really most important in the big picture.

One of my favorite blog readers, Tammy, asked a question a few days ago, and I’d like to address it here. She said…

“Kenz – I forgot to ask – do you usually weigh more than once a week at your WW meeting? I weigh myself every day, even though WW frowns on that. I can’t help myself….”

Tammy, I don’t weight myself more than once a week. I would drive myself crazy! I know people who do it daily and even a few who do it multiple times per day, but no way…not I! Our bodies change constantly. We weigh more after dinner or a workout or a snack. I would not have made it this far if I weighed myself constantly.

The scale is simply a guide to help me be sure that I’m on the right path. If I obsessed over it, I would get discouraged because of things that are perfectly natural. I know others feel differently, but I don’t expect my feelings on the scale to change any time soon. It’s necessary to track the numbers, but once a week is definitely enough for me.

Speaking of the scale…we have a date this afternoon. I’ll let you know it goes…

Reader Question

Hi Kenz,
I just stumbled upon your blog this afternoon and wanted to write and say that I’ve been so moved by your honesty as you continue your journey! I’m sure you get emails like this all the time, but I was hoping I could ask you a few questions and am crossing my fingers that you are willing to answer them!
I too am battling obesity. Just typing that word makes me want to cry! I need to make a change but think about the 120 or so pounds that I have to lose and I can’t seem to start because it seems like an impossible number. In the past, I had paid money to a weight loss company and lost 60 pounds only to gain it back after I got off the plan. We are a single income family and simply cannot afford for me to pay money to lose the weight. I feel hopeless in this situation but found your site to be so inspiring!
Do you think it’s possible for a 30 something married woman to lose 120 pounds on her own without the help of a gym membership and without paying someone for help? Right now I have a Wii with the Wii Fit and a Weight Watchers Cookbook.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Many Blessings,

Hi M,

I can’t actually do much for you accept tell you what works for me. I should tell you first that I am so. not. a. professional. I’m just a 29 year old girl who needs to lose quite a lot of weight. I’ve lost about 72 since April, and I still have a lot to lose to hit my goal weight. hehe

That being said, I know I can do it. And I do believe that you can do it too. It won’t be easy…In fact, it might be one of the hardest things you ever do, but it’s also so unbelievably rewarding. I already feel like a new person though I’m nowhere near my goal.

Okay, now…if I were you, I’d go to a doctor first to be sure there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be exercising. If he clears you then super! It’s amazing what our bodies can do (even when we assume we cannot.) So I’d start with the basics.

– Eat lots of fruits and veggies. I eat 9 servings per day, but starting with 5 would be fantastic. Things like a cup of cucumbers, 10 baby carrots, an orange, a couple slices of cantaloupe, an apple, a banana, etc. I like bananas because I exercise a lot, and I need the potassium so I don’t get cramps. 🙂

– Speaking of exercise…I know it seems overwhelming at first, but walking for 20 minutes three times per week will help you burn calories and build up endurance. So walk outside if it’s nice or walk in place inside if it’s lousy outside. Just walk! Walk! Walk! And when you’re walking, lift your hands above your head and sway to the beat of your steps every few minutes. Lifting your hands over your head once in a while will increase your heart rate which burns more calories.

– Make a specific time to exercise everyday. I mean, if you’re walking every other day then decide on a time and do it then. I tend to hit the gym at 2:45 in the afternoon (I prefer a late lunch.) And believe me, I know what it’s like to be busy. It is really easy to use time as an excuse not to exercise, but don’t even try it. 😉 It will not work. There is no TV show, trip to the store or nap that can make you feel as good as the changes you’ll see in your body if you stick with the program.

I don’t have a Wii, but several of my friends own them and love them. I’d like to have one eventually because I’ve heard that they can yield great results. The key is to get moving…get your blood pumping and sweat! Do not be afraid to sweat!

– Also, try to find someone reliable to share your exercise schedule. It can be a little easier if there’s someone there to push you and vice versa. But you exercise whether they do it or not. If it’s better for you to do it solo, then so be it. Don’t take shortcuts. You’ll just hurt yourself. 

– Eat well. If you’re not sure what that means then send me another message because it would be hard to sum it all up here. Here’s the basic idea. You must eat breakfast. We’ve all heard that it’s the most important meal of the day, but I didn’t actually understand why until recently. When we eat breakfast we are jump starting our metabolism for the day thus burning more calories. So, see? Eating is good. 🙂 We just have to learn to eat healthy things like foods that are high in fiber and/or whole grains, lean proteins and fruits and vegetables. Your Weight Watchers cookbook will help you make balanced and healthy decisions that the whole family can eat. I use my WW cookbooks a lot.

– Drink water. If you’re a coffee and soda drinker, replace some of it with water. It may not be super exciting at first. Who am I kidding? It sucks at first, but several months down the road you won’t even crave it. In fact, you’ll feel better knowing you’re not drinking that junk. It takes time. Don’t give up. Don’t try to change all at once.

Don’t make excuses. Don’t say I’ll start tomorrow. I’ll eat better later. You get the idea, right? You have to accept that sometimes you’ll do really well and other times you won’t. But you do your best. Forgive yourself when you do something you wish you hadn’t done. And keep going forward. If you do well most of the time then you’ll be good to go.

– Here’s the last thing for now and probably the most important thing. It will be tough to make healthy choices sometimes, but it will get a little easier (at least most of the time.) So think about how amazing you’ll feel when you step on the scale weighing less. Don’t think about what you’ll be giving up. Think about what you will gain – a new lifestyle that makes you happier. It will be awesome. It will not be easy, but it will be totally worth it.

Wow, if you got through this entire message you’re already a champ. I wish you all the best with this, and I’m here if you need me. You can do this…I believe that. And I can also tell you that you’ll start feeling great long before you hit your goal. You’ll feel like a new person who has more pep in your step, more stamina and a healthier lifestyle.

Get started and keep going…and take it one day at a time!

All the best,


My First Reader Question: Donuts

Hi Kenz, 

Is it true that a Krispy Kreme only has 5 points? It seems like they would have more. 


Hi Donna,

Thanks for your question!

Yes, an Original Glazed donut from Krispy Kreme is counted as 5 points on Weight Watchers. The nutrition facts are available here on their website.  

According to the site, a glazed donut contains approximately 200 calories, 12 grams of fat and 1 gram of fiber which makes the point value 5 on Weight Watchers.

I don’t recommend sitting around eating donuts everyday, but once in a while I do it. And I still like to know what I’m eating first. I hope this answers your question..



My dear readers…If you have a question or a comment, feel free to e-mail me anytime!