Category Archives: Reflection

Mother’s Day Weekend

I had one of those weekends that was awesome and exhausting, and as I write this post I’m so thankful. I spent Mother’s Day with Mom today, and she’s continuing to recover from the strokes she had a few weeks ago. I’ve never been more thankful to spend time with her than I was today.

Mom and Me

When I arrived at her house we both took naps, then we ate watermelon, spent time with the neighbor and played Bananagrams. We didn’t do anything particularly exciting, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude that she’s here and healing. I’m just so relieved that God is in control – even through the scariest of circumstances, and I’m also thankful that I recognized that in the midst of everything.

I have a lot to discuss here – protein shakes, TRX and swimming, but right now I’m beat. I’m looking forward to relaxing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I just need to power through a few days first.

I’m going to start the week off right be getting some sleep. My goal is to sleep for 7 to 8 hours. Am I the only one who needs that much to feel refreshed the next morning?

 

 

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Spring is Here

It was nice to reconnect with a few old friends last week, and it was also fun to connect with a couple of new people. That’s what I love about Friend Makin’ Mondays, and I hope you guys will hang with me as we continue to grow together again.

wpid-friend-makin-monday-for-post3-300x179

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Spring is Here

  1. What city do you currently live in? New Orleans, LA
  2. What’s the weather like where you are? It’s perfect right now. Of course it could always rain tomorrow. 😉 Seriously though, it’s been gorgeous (70’s and breezy.) I wish it was this beautiful all year!
  3. When you eat at a restaurant do you prefer to eat inside or outside? At this time of year I don’t mind eating outside, but when it gets hotter I usually prefer the a/c.
  4. What is your favorite season? It was always Winter until I moved to New Orleans. Now I think early Spring is my favorite here (even though I still love Winter most.)
  5. When you go on vacation do you prefer the beach or the mountains? It depends. I always love a beach vacation, but I love spending time with my family at their home in the Rockies.
  6. What do you like most about Spring? The beautiful temperatures, blue skies and baseball season. I loved baseball more before I lived in New Orleans too, but I still catch a game here and there.
  7. Share one of the greatest moments of Spring from your childhood. When I was 5 years old (maybe younger) I found the golden egg at an Easter egg hunt, and I still have the trophy I won. Ha
  8. Do you prefer to wear shorts, capris or dresses at this time of year? Or do you prefer something else? This lady does not wear shorts. I wouldn’t be opposed to some brightly colored bermudas if I could find them, but I’m most comfortable in dresses. They make me look put together, and they’re usually comfortable too.
  9. What do you miss about Winter? Snow…We don’t really have Winter here in New Orleans, but I travel enough that I get to enjoy snow from time to time.
  10. What do you look forward to about Summer? Swimming!

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and share you link in the comments! Also remember to take a few minutes to comment on posts that others share.

Happy Monday, Friends!

 

 

Netflix, Hulu, or ?

I’ve been going back and forth about getting rid of cable. I turned it off for a week last month, and it was great to be free of the distraction for the most part.

Years ago I got into a bad habit of leaving CNN on mute all day. When I worked from home I had a 24 hour news cycle filtering through my living space, and when I ended that in 2014, I felt much happier overall.

It’s hard to turn away from the news now. I don’t talk about politics much here, but if you know me at all, you know how important politics is to my day-to-day life…err, how important it was.

When I started having dreams about crunching poll numbers I knew it was time to make a change again. I signed up for Netflix because I wanted to watch Fuller House with Mom when she visited. I was also ready for Season 4 of House of Cards, but it’s just not my thing anymore. I also watched Jane the Virgin, which is hilarious…at least what I’ve seen so far.

Now, as i think about eliminating cable for a while, I wonder if I should sign up for Hulu as well. I could catch new shows that way, while eliminating the 24/7 news cycle. Apparently, I’m not strong enough turn away from it. I still get sucked into every debate, every town hall on both sides of the aisle (even though I can predict almost everything they’ll say.)

Do you use Netflix or Hulu? If so, would you recommend it? Do you have an alternate recommendation?

 

An Open Letter to Chris McClarney: Thank You

I wrote this intending to send it as an email, but when I didn’t find one I decided to post it here. I’m thankful for the music and lyrics and how it will forever remain in my mind now. I don’t know if Chris will ever see it or not, but I had to let it all out.

Dear Chris,

Last Saturday was an emotional day for my family and me, and your song, “God of Miracles” played a powerful role in it. A dear family friend, Charlene, went on to meet Jesus a week ago, but my mom and I spent her last moments in this life with her first.

She had been sick for several months, but I didn’t realize how ill she was until she chose to move into a Hospice facility in New Orleans last Friday.
Charlene was an amazing woman of God, and several years ago while I was steeped in sin, shame and bitterness, she told me that God had a plan for my life. I scoffed at her with condescension as she said, “He’s never going to stop pursuing you, and I’m never going to stop praying for you.”

A few years after that conversation, I realized for the first time (even though I grew up as a pastor’s kid) that I’d never be able to earn salvation; it was God’s free gift for me, and I didn’t have to work for it. I simply had to accept it. That realization changed my life, and as a result of my relationship with Jesus I’ve surrendered the anger, self-loathing and bitterness that I carried for far too long.

Now, as a worship leader at NOLA Church, a place I swore I’d never go to when I was initially invited, I listen to a lot of amazing music, and our bass player added “God of Miracles” to my playlist a few months ago. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times since I first heard it, but it helped shape my view of death and eternity over the weekend.

When we arrived at Charlene’s bedside my mom sang one of her favorite songs, “He Touched Me.” (We always sang when we were together.) I thought she’d ask me to follow up with a different Southern Gospel tune, but instead she said, “sing the song you were playing on repeat in the car.”

Charlene was on morphine to ease her pain, so I assumed she wouldn’t know what we were singing anyway. In spite of that I sang the song a cappella, struggling to get through it without breaking down. At the same time Charlene began to lift her hands, and though she had not been responsive before that, her sister asked her to give us a thumbs up if she knew we were there and wanted me to continue the song. She gave a feeble, yet distinctive thumbs up, and at that moment I realized that the Holy Spirit was empowering me to walk with her through the painful moments shortly before all of her pain would cease. By the second verse, the four of us in the room, knew that God’s presence was there and filling in what would be the last few minutes of her life.

“Let faith arise, and see the kingdom come, I lift my eyes, for the battle has been won. My God is faithful, and every single word He says is true.”

As I sang those lyrics I thanked God for His mercy and comfort and for the example of unwavering faith that I saw first hand as my precious friend went on to see Jesus.

Today I sang at her memorial. I woke up heavy hearted, knowing that we’d all be saying goodbye to her a few hours later, but what happened instead was a celebration of her life and her choice to live her life fully surrendered to Jesus.

family

“God of Miracles” is the last song that she heard before moving on into God’s glory, and I’m forever thankful that I was able to worship through her last moments with her, filled with the promises and truths that exist in those lyrics.
Thank you, Chris…

Sincerely,

Kenlie

Okay, Let’s Talk About Richard Simmons

It’s been quiet around here lately, but I don’t think I can stay quiet about Richard Simmons any longer. I had mixed feelings about discussing him here, so I just didn’t. Thinking of him makes my heart swell with sadness, but after the media reports that surfaced last week I think it’s time speak up.

Richard went into hiding, or something two years ago, and I miss the man I’ve adored most of my life. Even as a kid, before I thought of myself as overweight/plus-sized, I admired him because of his love for people. And many years later, when I wrote him an open letter on my blog, his response was prompt and overwhelming. I never thought that the larger-than-life fitness icon would care that I wrote him a letter, so I was blown away when I received the first of many emails only a few days later.

At the time I was at the top of my weight-loss game, but everything slowly began to crumble when the pesky airline made me feel like I was as worthless as they thought I was. Regardless, I got on a plane and flew to Los Angeles to take a class with him at Slimmons, and those workouts were among the coolest things I’ve ever experienced in my life. (It was so cool, in fact, that I thought it was a good idea to move to Beverly Hills just to be close enough to exercise with him regularly, so I did.)

Richard Simmons

Richard made me feel like anything was possible, but even more importantly, he made me feel like I was lovable just like I was. (I hadn’t discovered that yet.)

Richard Simmons and Kenlie at Slimmons

When he went into seclusion he stopped emailing people he communicated with regularly (myself included.) At first, I wondered if I had unknowingly offended him. I wondered if he had given up on me since I was struggling with my weight again, but several months later I learned that it wasn’t me at all.

There was a sign at his studio saying that he’d be back next month, which became the next month and the next month…I soon learned that he stopped responding to my friends like KeepItUpDavid, who were in constant contact with him as well, and months later no one had heard anything from him.

Richard SImmons and KeepItUpDavid and Kenlie

TMZ reached out to my at one point last year, but I refused to talk. The Today Show used footage from when I worked out at Slimmons for the first time to tell viewers that Richard had resurfaced, but that wasn’t true either.

Richard Simmons Kenlie Today Show

There’s been radio silence from Richard until last week when he called in for an interview with Today. It was such a relief to hear his voice that I shed tears for a moment at my desk. At the same time I was sad to hear his quiet, almost calculated words. He sounded sad, which made me sad.

I don’t know what he’s going through. (I have some theories, but I won’t be elaborating on them.) He has the right to live his life privately if that’s what he wants to do.  I just want him to be happy, and I hope he knows that no matter what, I love him, I’m praying for him, I miss him, and I hope I see his face again someday.

 

Do You Have Anything To Add To My New Orleans Adventure List?

I met a tall, handsome and seemingly friendly guy over the weekend who (unintentionally) helped me see that I’ve been missing some of the best things my little city has to offer.

He talked about taking me to Dorignac’s, a local grocery store that has practically everything, a big Asian market on the West Bank, the king cake festival that’s coming up in my neighborhood, day trips to fun places and more.

We talked about politics and a variety of other things as well, and he made me realize that while I love my life, there’s a lot more to enjoy. I have no idea if I will hear from him again or enjoy any of them with him, but he unknowingly inspired me to make a list of things that I want to do in and around my city in 2016.

Here’s my list in no particular order:

Go to Dorignac’s (because people who know seem to think it’s the best.) While I’m at it, I should check out the new Fresh Market that opened across the street. I’ve been wanting to do that.
Explore City Park, and relax on one of the many giant swings. I’ve done this; I just want to do it more often.

Visit the WW2 Museum. I honestly cannot believe I’ve never been there. It’s walking distance from my home, and WW2 has always personally been the most compelling part of American History. I can still remember walking through concentration camps in Germany wondering how anyone was ever strong enough to endure those places.

Take a ride on the Creole Queen. During my walk yesterday I stopped to watch the boat depart, and I realized that I wished I was on it. I’ve never really even considered taking a ride down the river, which is silly because that was one of my favorite things about New York City when I lived there. The difference here is that I don’t think I’d take a sail on the roughest, deepest part of the Mississippi River! I’ll take the paddle boat instead.

Creole Queen Cruise New Orleans

Drive to Mississippi to eat barbecue at The Shed. I’ve been hearing how great this places since I moved here, and I love BBQ!

Enjoy an early morning or afternoon at the Lakefront. It’s beautiful over there! How on earth have I managed to skip that?

Eat King Cake at Sucre. I’ve done this once, but you can only do it for a little while each year. I should probably do it again because I love it. I’d love to go to the king cake festival too, but I don’t mind going to Sucre by myself. I preferred to go to the festival with good company.
Drive to Baton Rouge to buy Lush Cosmetics. Okay, I do this occasionally, but I think I need to do it more often. I’m seriously obsessed with bubble bars and bath bombs.

Ride a street car. I’ve never done it. They pass down my street, yet I’ve never done it.

Visit the Insectarium. I know it’s weird, but I want to see what it’s all about. I might even taste a bug just to say to myself that I did. In New Orleans, we eat crawfish, which are really just mud bugs so…

Go to Oak Alley Plantation. I was there over a decade ago, but I don’t remember much about it. I’d love to go there now.

Go to a Mardi Gras parade. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I kind of want to walk down to the street during Muses and maybe a few others too. I’d definitely enjoy this one more with a tall, strong bodyguard, but we’ll see how I feel in the next week or two.

Walk down Royal Street in the French Quarter…just because it’s pretty (and nothing like Bourbon St., which is mostly awful.) I do this sometimes, but it’s been quite a while since the last time.

Eat crawfish (either at my favorite seafood restaurant, or on my rooftop. Actually, I’d like to do both.) I didn’t eat much crawfish last year, but I’m hoping to enjoy it more this year.

Drink a cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde. I tend to do this when friends and family visit from out of town, but I like it. Why not do it more often?

I’m sure there’s a lot more to add to the list, but this feels like a good start. I’m not sure which one I’ll do first, but I’ll do a few of these in the next week. I’ll document it on Instagram too, of course.

Have you ever been to New Orleans? If so, what was your favorite part? What’s the coolest thing to do in your town?

 

Exercise, Healthy Eating (and Doughnuts)

It’s been a quiet week here, but I’m happy to report that I am down 2.6 pounds from last week. Working in an environment that promotes fitness and healthy living helps a lot. (Big surprise there, I know.) I’m obsessed with BodyCombat, and it’s becoming a regular part of my schedule now. My boss does it with me, which is nice because we can laugh at ourselves and sweat our guts out together.

I also spent time last week getting reacquainted with my neighborhood. I spend so much time in other parts of town that sometimes I forget that I live in one of the coolest neighborhoods in New Orleans. It’s also among the safest, which makes it easy to take a stroll to the river by myself.

Downtown New Orleans CBD

One day last week my walk was interrupted by cool, breezy weather and a view of the Mississippi River. The Riverwalk has a pretty nice food court now, so I bought a power-packed smoothie and found a comfortable chair and ottoman to enjoy before walking back home. Every workout should be that relaxing…seriously.

Riverwalk in New Orleans

I also climbed many flights of stairs last week. After a phone call with my pal, KeepItUpDavid, I was inspired to make a stair climbing goal. The tallest building in my neighborhood (and in New Orleans) is 55 stories, so my plan is to work my way up to the top without using an elevator. My building, which is roughly half that tall, is possible, but it takes me quite a while because my heart needs to slow down several times on the way up. I had breakfast in 55 story building this morning, and it was cool to look at the building, knowing I’d be able to reach the top at some point soon.

One Shell Square New Orleans

My eating was relatively on point last week too. I could have done better, but I did pretty well. I ate a few salads, smoked pork, rotisserie chicken breast (sans skin) and oatmeal, oranges and a few doughnut holes…Yes, I ate a few doughnut holes, then I realized that I don’t want to be a person who mindlessly eats doughnuts, so I tossed the rest. I mean, I literally threw them out of my hands when I realized what I was doing. (I did that when I ordered a few Munchkins at Dunkin’ Donuts in Boston last year too.)

Now it’s almost Wednesday, and it’s time to step up my exercise game. Last week i counted steps using my Garmin Vivofit 2, but I haven’t been as diligent in wearing it this week. I’m okay with that because I don’t want to become addicted to checking my step count, but when I realized I didn’t wear it on my short walk this morning I was bummed. (Seriously, do steps even count when we’re not tracking them??)

How’s your fitness going? What’s happening this week in your world? I’d love to hear about it.

Until then…

Where Did You Meet Your Mate?

Several of my friends have fallen in love with people they met online. Actually, I’ve done it before too. I think that finding love is wonderful regardless of how you meet, but I’m not interested in meeting anyone online now. I’m just not.

My friend, who knows me well, was surprised by my desire to stay single instead of “putting myself out there.” There are a lot of reasons for my preferences in this area, but the biggest one is that I just don’t want to.

I always envisioned meeting someone in my favorite coffee shop and falling for him, and I spent most of last year with a man who simply wasn’t right for me. I’m not saying I’ll meet the future Mr. Kenlie at a coffee shop either; I’m just saying that I don’t want to worry about it right now.

My desire is to be with someone who will complement the life that I already love, but I’d rather stay single than go out looking for him. I don’t want to be emotionally or physically attached to someone who’s not good for me, and I don’t want to waste all of my energy wishing, hoping or even praying about it.

Seriously, God knows my heart. He knows I’d like to meet someone tall, brilliant and fiercely loyal who will look adorable in our selfies, so before Christmas I decided to stop bugging Him about it. Instead I’m trying to help others, find my purpose and enjoy everything that’s already in front of me.

Is it weird that I’m so closed off to meeting someone online? I haven’t always felt this way; it’s just what I’m feeling now, at least in this season of my life.

Did you meet your spouse/significant other online? Did you ever go through a period in which you didn’t want to go that route? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this whether you’ve dated online or not.

When He Brings Up Your Weight

The last few days have been incredibly busy for me, but I feel as though a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Sharing the number on the scale was embarrassing for a moment, then it became freeing. I don’t want to want my life to revolve around the numbers on the scale, but I don’t want to hide from them either.

After the conversation I had with that guy (you know the one) earlier this week, I did a lot more reflecting, meal prepping and exercising. That man is not the man for me. He’s much older than I am and more selfish than I am, but there are moments in which it feels like he cares for me deeply.

When I was sick came to my place so we could take a nap while coughing all over him, and when  he learned that my tire was flat last week he dropped everything at work to come and repair it for me.

He’s a nice man who spent months showing me that he adored me and desired me the way I am, so when he wanted to talk about my weight as we drank coffee the other day I was willing.

C: I just got a text from Walgreens saying that my prescription is ready. Do you get texts when yours are ready? (He’s in great shape, but he’s a diabetic.)

K: You know I don’t take any…

C: Well, yes. You will probably need to someday if you don’t change some habits. 

K: Uh…

C: I’m just saying that your eating habits aren’t exactly great, you know? Maybe it would be a good idea to make some changes now instead of when you’re forced to. 

K: Dude, I’ve lost so much, gained some back, etc. 

We paused to discuss some private stuff regarding my initial weight gain, then resumed our conversation. 

C: I don’t want to talk about that right now. (He already knows my history.) I want to talk about what we could do today. 

K: Yeah, I mean…it’s something I have to do, and it’s really frustrating that I let myself go backwards for so long. 

C: What can I do to help?

K: Not a thing.

C: You have to do this for yourself…not for me or anyone else. 

K: Oh, believe me…I know. It’s frustrating to think that you’d want me more if I were skinnier, but…

C: I’ve already proven my desire for you, Kenlie. You just need to make some changes. People already love you how you are. 

K: Yeah, I know. I did really well during the time period in which we were eating lunch together everyday. 

C: You need to make a schedule. 

K: I know. 

C: You don’t have to worry about everything. Just worry about what you’re doing to do today and tomorrow.

K: That’s far less overwhelming.

C: I wish we were the only two people in the world. I mean, in our world, so we could decide together that we’re going to start. Imagine how different things would be in a year. Instead we have to be careful not to end up giving each other a shot or something. 

K: Well, we know that’s not going to happen (referring to him being around for all of that.)

C: Oh, do you have a crystal ball?

K: Nope, just common sense.

C: You can’t predict the future, Kenlie.

K: Whatever. I’m going to work out now. 

It’s been an emotionally tough year for me. I mean, we constantly evolve as people, which means that some times are better than others. I just dealt with a few extended periods of stress that I’m not used to this year. I’ve also learned a lot about myself and experienced tremendous growth throughout this year.

I fought loneliness hard this year too, and it wasn’t until a few months ago that I began recognizing God as my source – for comfort, in my finances and in every other area. Yes, I knew He was there and that He loves me so much, but I have found so much strength in leaning on Him when I feel weak or lonely.

Food is connected to my emotions, and my emotions lie. They tell me that I can’t do this, or that I’d be more loved if I weren’t so fat. They say that I’m a failure because I have to try again, and they tell me that sitting at home next to my Christmas tree watching a Hallmark movie will be so much better if I have a calorie-laden hot chocolate…and cake or pie. They scream about how much easier it would be to do this is C was with me everyday to help me stick to it.

I have overcome some major obstacles in my life, and sometimes I surprise myself with cool things that I do or opportunities that arise. (Have I mentioned that I work for a gym now? I still have my regular clients, but seriously…I work at a gym.)

I know that I can do this, and I know that I have to take little steps to establish consistency and create a routine. I know that I don’t need that man in my kitchen everyday to succeed. I know that all I need is a little more gumption and to make my food intake a much higher priority than it has been.

Being skinny is not something that I find particularly appealing. Wait, that is an absolute lie. It would be awesome to be tiny, but what I want more than anything now (regarding my health) is to be in control of my body and intake. I just want to get back into the 280’s, a point in which I felt unstoppable.

I started by making a few healthy meals so it would be convenient to eat something healthy and delicious, and that’s working. I’m going to update my exercise log once in a while too. I’ll write it down and report it here (even if I’m the only one seeing it.)

My big goal right now is to plan what I’m going to eat today and tomorrow. I’ll deal with the rest as it happens. (I think rotisserie chicken is going to be my new favorite for a while. Yum.)

Is anyone else reading this and starting over? Have you already started over? If so, I’d like to hear what you’re doing.

 

 

 

Let’s Talk About How Much I Weigh Today

It’s been a while since I said anything here, and it’s been a really long while since I used this blog for its intended purpose – accountability.

When my blog disappeared from the internet recently I thought about whether or not I should keep it or let it go. Thankfully, GoDaddy recognized the mistake and restored it, but during that period I did some reflecting.

Does anyone read blogs these days?

Is blogging still a thing?

Should I let it go since it hasn’t served its intended purpose in a long time?

At some points this blog was an empowering tool, but it also led to significant pain at other points. Is any of it relevant anymore?

I’ve changed so much. Do those changes really need to be documented online?

Will anyone actually read it if I do write?

All of these thoughts and questions swirled in my mind over the 24-hour period in which it was gone. I even posed a question on Facebook asking for opinions about whether or not I should pay the $150 fee to have it restored.

Ultimately, it was fixed without the fee, and during that time I realized that I wasn’t ready to let go of it yet. I also realized that the reasons I want to keep it are personal. I didn’t mind the thought of people not reading it, but I hated the thought of losing the personal history that I’ve shared here. Sure, it only matters to me, but I’m the only person it really needs to matter to.

I weigh almost as much as I did when I started this blog nearly 7 years ago. A long time ago I lost a lot of weight, and when I stopped being diligent I became apathetic. It’s the truth, and I’m not proud of it.

This morning I weighed 357.2 pounds, only 36.4 pounds down from my highest recorded weight. Sure, I’m glad I don’t weigh 36.4 pounds more than I did when I started, but I’m headed there fast if I don’t change something. This realization makes me sad. It also embarrasses me more than words can express.

As I sat at Starbucks today with the man I used to mention vaguely here we discussed my weight, his worries regarding my long-term health and all of the excuses/reasons I have for letting my weight spiral out of control again. (I’ll share more about our conversation later.)

I know that I’m not the only person who has lost weight and gained it back. I also know that it’s possible to do it again, to hold on tighter and to start again now.

Kenlie Gym

When I got home after a busy day I hit the gym, then I prepared a healthy dinner. I’m not prepared enough or disciplined enough to plan out a month of meals right now, but I do think I can plan for tomorrow. Maybe that’s all I need to do right now.

It has been a long time since I used this blog as a tool for my weight-loss, but I’m starting now. I’m done making excuses, feeling like a failure and putting off another attempt until later. I changed my habits today, and I’m going to try to do the same again tomorrow.

Now it’s time for a cold, post-gym shower because I have a lot of work ahead of me tonight, and I’ve put it all off long enough.