Category Archives: Reflection

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?

 

 

End of the Year Reflection

Each year, as it comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the last twelve months, and this year is no different. I was wasting time on Facebook last week when I decided to join everyone else in a Facebook contrived review of my year, and according to Facebook I was completely lame. If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably familiar with the little slideshow of photos that the site puts together for you. Mine showed a salad, a few silly photos with friends and nothing at all that I would consider noteworthy. The truth is that some of the coolest moments of 2014 didn’t make it to Facebook.

Even though Facebook might disagree, I did some cool things this year. I met my newest niece (actually I met her last Christmas, and I saw her again in April when I visited Colorado.)  I celebrated Hannah’s 5th birthday with my family in CO, and I can’t wait to head that way again soon. It’s been way too long for Auntie!

I spoke at an airline conference in Washington, D.C., and I met with executives from several major airlines in order to promote positive change within corporations that have the power to turn the tide.

JetBlue

I accidentally reconnected with an old friend for a day in front of the White House. I was able to hug her, apologize to her for the things that I did wrong and enjoy an afternoon of sightseeing with her. It was completely random, and I am thankful that it happened that way.

Kenlie White House

I took on a more active role as a worship leader at NOLA Church, and my voice and skills have grown. My relationship with Jesus has grown too. I also hosted a pretty cool small group in which I made a new and awesome friend.

Kenlie NOLA Church

I was given the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and perfected it.

I watched countless Christmas movies with Mom throughout the year.

I helped a few kids gain confidence in their abilities to succeed in school.

I went to Fitbloggin for the fourth year in a row in Savannah, GA and connected with friends who didn’t allow me to feel out of place (even though I did for the first time.)

Mission Meltdown Epic Selfie

I dined at the newest, hottest restaurants in New Orleans with friends and private jet pilots. (They didn’t offer to fly me anywhere though. Ha.)

I bought a new car.

I became a Starbucks gold card member.

I saw George Strait and Reba perform live with Clint before he moved to Chicago.

I visited Oklahoma and spent several days with Dad while it was about 3 degrees outside.

I went to my first New York Mets game at Citi Field. (I’m still a Yankees fan, but this was a pretty stellar way to spend my birthday.)

New York Mets

I got closer to finishing my degree at Tulane.

I survived heartbreak and salvaged a relationship that meant a lot to me.

I cultivated relationships with friends and made some new ones as well.

Kenlie and Friends

I went out on some dates with interesting guys, though I didn’t meet the Future Mr. Kenlie. Ha I did get to watch my close friends say “I do,” which was pretty amazing. I’ve never been happier to see anyone marry.

French Quarter Wedding
Overall I guess my year was relatively routine and low key. It definitely had some ups and downs, but I can’t tell you how cool it is to feel like I have roots somewhere. I doubt I’ll stay in New Orleans forever, but I’m happy here now.

I’m thankful that I’ve lived in the same place for a couple of years, and I’m looking forward to living in the same place for even longer. I like my location, my neighbors, my view and my surroundings.

After a few tumultuous and/or eventful years, it’s okay to look back on 2012 as quiet and satisfying. Maybe I’ll do something more exciting in 2015, or maybe I’ll just kick back and enjoy my quiet, friends and family filled life.

Here’s to a bright 2015 for all of us…

 

I’m Different, Which Is Mostly Okay with Me

I started this blog almost six years ago, and life has changed so much since it began! I’ve experienced success, failure, heartbreak, loss, love, what I thought might be love, anger, growth, healing, fulfillment, and a lot of other things that have molded me into the person I am right now. I’ve talked about all of it at length here. I’ve shared the highs and lows, and as I moved into 2014 I was unsure about my presence here. I was quiet for more of December because I was happier not posting here, but over the last few days I’ve missed it.

My first post here was in 2009, but I wrote before that on a site that no longer exists. I’ve never found a blog name that sums up who I am, err, who I want to be as well as this one, but I’m different than I was when it started. My goals and priorities are different. My lifestyle is different. I miss parts of my former life, but I’m exponentially happier than I was.

I took this selfie today while singing hymns and waiting to fill up for $1.75 per gallon. I had to entertain myself for about 6 minutes.

After months of self-questioning and reflection regarding this blog, I was inspired by my friend, Kelly from NoThanksToCake, to write a new “About Me” page. I read what I had written some time ago with plans to change it, but the truth is that it still fits. It still sums up who I am, who I want to be, what I want…

In lieu of writing a new “About Me” Section, I’m just going to make a list of ways in which I’m different now. I’m going to continue to use this particular blog space because I love it more than any other space that’s available to me on the web.

So here we go…

  • In 2009 I was…focused on my health over everything else. I was a member of Weight Watchers, and I attended motivational weekly meetings to see my progress. I tracked consistently and almost always saw positive results. (If they ever bring back the Momentum plan, I’ll rejoin immediately.)
  • In 2014 I am…focused on all kinds of things, but my weight/health/consumption has not been a priority in ages. In fact, when I was asked to list the top five things that were most important to me, my health didn’t even make the list.
  • In 2009 I was…living in New York.
  • In 2014 I am…living in the heart of downtown New Orleans.
  • In 2009 I was…a weekly participant in Friend Makin’ Mondays.
  • In 2014 I am…no longer a participant in FMM. I became host and hosted every Monday until earlier this year when Sarah graciously agreed to take over. Now I’ll probably do something on Thursdays because that’s always been my favorite day to weigh-in, to blog, etc. I think it’s due to the anticipation of the upcoming weekend.
  • In 2009 I was…afraid to be myself, afraid that if people really knew me, they’d see that I was as worthless as I believed I was. I was closed off; I didn’t let anyone in because I hated who I was and was unable to admit it.
  • In 2014 I am…a pretty cool person who has a loving family, which I always had, and a cool set of friends (many of whom know every single awful thing I’ve ever done and still love me.)
  • In 2009 I was…determined to never attend church again. I was angry with God and angry with myself for not feeling worthy of the love that I forgot that He so freely gives.
  • In 2014 I am…a believer. I’ve been a part of NOLA Church for almost two years, and I have experienced more grace, love and healing that I ever could have imagined. God’s still working on me in major ways, but I’m new. I’m a part of God’s family, and I realize now (thanks for a very patient pastor, his beautiful wife and the community that I’m now a part of) that there’s nothing that can ever separate me from the love of God. (If you’re not convinced just take a moment to read Romans 8:31-39. You’re welcome.)
  • In 2009 I was…not a fan of coffee.
  • In 2014 I am…a fan of coffee. I never thought that Starbucks would become one of my favorite daily spots, but it is now. I do private tutoring there a few days a week, I’ve made friends with a handful of baristas at my preferred location, and I’m a gold card member. (Who doesn’t want a free drink once in a while?)
  • In 2009 I was…quietly singing karaoke in the comfort of my own home. I grew up singing in public and often.
  • In 2014 I am…on the worship team at NOLA Church and singing more powerfully than ever before. Our voices are instruments that need to be used, and it’s an awesome feeling.
  • In 2009 I was…nervous that I’d never figure out my place in life.
  • In 2014 I am…almost finished pursuing a degree at Tulane University. I still don’t know where I’ll end up, but my education should give me a firm foundation as I figure that out.
  • In 2009 I was…living with my boyfriend.
  • In 2014 I am…living alone in a cozy little apartment where I feel safe and content even without a boyfriend.
  • In 2009 I was…in a stellar exercise routine. My goal was to workout 1,000 minutes per month, and I logged it here.
  • In 2014 I am…less devoted to regular exercise than I have been in the last several years. I haven’t made it a priority, and as a result I feel lethargic when I think of hitting the gym. Sometimes I do it anyway, but I’m not consistent at all. It seems I’ve forgotten how good an endorphin rush can feel.
  • In 2009 I was…patient and consistent in cooking meals at home.
  • In 2014 I am…always on the go. I need to make more time to dine at home because a little planning goes a long way toward success.
  • In 2009 I was…determined to shed excess weight.
  • In 2014 I am…disappointed in myself for putting a significant amount of the weight I lost back on. I never got to my goal, nor have I regained all that I lost. I just haven’t done much at all for my physical health, and in all honesty, I’m beginning to feel it. I don’t like it one bit.
  • In 2009 I was…struggling daily to refrain from drinking Coke, Dr. Pepper and Sprite.
  • In 2014 I am…repulsed by soda. I haven’t had one since early 2009, and I’ll be fine with it if I never have one again.
  • In 2009 I was…so sure of myself. I believed that I could lose weight. I believed that if I worked at it and stayed consistent that it would work.
  • In 2014 I am…not even sure how I ever felt that. Sometimes it wasn’t easy, but I don’t remember it ever being as hard as it seems now. I guess the truth is that I’m afraid that I’m going to do all of the work again only to yo-yo again. I don’t want to fail anymore, and I’ve used that as a reason to not really try. I can’t be a failure if I’m not trying, right? (Wow, Kenlie…That’s just great. Way to suck a life, friend.)
  • In 2009 I was…Partying Off the Pounds with my favorite Richard Simmons DVD.
  • In 2014 I am…still in awe of the fact that I met my favorite fitness guru. I know him, and he knows me. He’s struggling right now, and it’s a reminder that even the greatest of us face difficult battles. He’s an incredible inspiration to me, and I hope to see him again sooner than later. I wrote about him recently for DietsInReview.com after fielding a lot of questions from other news outlets.
  • In 2009 I was…at the top of my game in this weight-loss thing. I didn’t care what CNN thought of me, and I didn’t get e-mails from reporters at various networks asking how much skinnier I had gotten since the beginning of the year.
  • In 2014 I am…an advocate for people of size because I believe that everyone deserves the same level of respect I no longer allow the opinions of people that I don’t know to affect how I feel about myself. In addition to being a founding board member at PlusInc, I also blog there pretty regularly.
  • In 2009 I was…an emotional wreck. I wasn’t depressed in a traditional sense. I just hated who I was.
  • In 2014 I am…emotionally healthy. I feel whatever I feel, then I let it go and move on.
  • In 2009 I was…afraid to be who I was.
  • In 2014 I am…actively loving myself even though I still have a lot of work to do to be insanely proud of myself.

I’m sure that I could list a myriad of other ways in which I’m different now than I was in 2009, but this is a good start. I’m different, but many of my desires are the same. I know that in order to lose weight I have to be active in trying, and over the last few months I’ve been doing more than I was. It’s been over three months since I’ve had a doughnut, and I’m hoping that at some point, I find them as disgusting as soft drinks.

I guess I said all of that to say this: I’m here. I may or may not check in everyday, and you may or may not like what I have to say. I’ll just be here to write when I want to write, and I’ll continue to strive to be the best version of myself.

 

 

 

Facing the Fat

I’ve experienced some ups and downs since my last post, but I recognize what I have to do in order to be happy with myself. I’m still lacking motivation to exercise, but I’m doing it anyway. I know that if I keep trudging through that I’ll be glad I did.

I spent most of the weekend at Mom’s house, and I saw family and friends that I don’t get to see everyday, and it highlighted how different I look and feel than I did last year.

Mom has dropped over 50 pounds since February, and our family friend, Linda, has dropped 50 pounds as well. I gained about that much, but they weren’t judgmental because they understand how tough it is.

I know that I have an opportunity to change what I don’t like about myself. I know that I don’t have to choose between being physically healthy and emotionally healthy, and I’m working on improving physically right now because I’ve come so far emotionally over the last couple of years.

I’m eating more vegetables, drinking fewer sugary drinks and dragging myself to the gym. I know that eventually I’ll get back to the place in which I crave the endorphin rush, and I hope it happens soon because I’m tired of feeling like this.

As we close out 2014, I’m holding onto hope that I’ll feel different by this time next year…

 

 

 

Changing My Mindset

Right now my head hurts, and I feel a little achy. I’m not officially sick, but I feel like whining. I’m tired even though I shouldn’t be. I’m stressed even though I know that stress typically passes. I’m just don’t feel great. I don’t feel like myself. Instead I feel like crawling under the blankets in my bed and watching Christmas movies until it’s an acceptable time to sleep. (Okay, the Christmas part sounds like me, but  the watching TV in bed is definitely not normal in my world.)

I’m not at home because I had class today, which was followed by a tutoring session and church. (Once a month we have a service on Wednesday evenings,) and now I’m planning to meet someone for coffee. It has been a busy afternoon and evening, and I’m looking forward to sleeping.

I’ve been thinking about what I could do to improve my health between now and the end of the year. I feel like the sugar thing is under control now more than it has been in a long time, and someone who knows me made a statement earlier today that resonated with me. We were talking about adding more goals that would help me get a better grip on my health, and I’ve been thinking about his response a lot this evening.

He said, “You were really great at it when it was a priority.”

We all know that it’s true. There was a time in which I felt like I had it figured out, and now it’s embarrassing to admit that I didn’t have whatever was necessary to keep it up. I think about my failures a lot, and for a long time, I’ve used them as an excuse to refrain from trying.

The last six weeks or so have been better. I’m eating less sugary crap, but I’m not exercising much. I did a 10k with a friend one day last week, and I walked a few times in the month before that. It’s just not enough. It’s a decent start, but I want that feeling that I used to have when I knew I’d workout everyday.

I want the endorphin rush, and I want to feel the consistency that I felt exercise even when I wasn’t eating as well as I should. I’m seeing the numbers decrease just a little, and I know that if I add some exercise back into my daily routine, I’ll see those little sacrifices add up to a lot of success.

My mindset needs to change. I’ve been lazy in fitness most of this year, but that’s something that I can change right now. I don’t even have to leave home to sweat it out. I have several awesome workout DVD’s, several flights of stairs and a gym at the top of my building. What else do I need? Motivation? Inspiration? Willingness?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, but I think I need to spend time doing it (and figuring the rest out later if I still think it matters.)

I need to change my mindset. I’m careful not to “fake it ’til I make it” because that attitude has gotten me into trouble in the past, but in this case, I’m pretty sure that it’s okay.

My weight and health hasn’t been a priority in a long time, but I’ve (successfully) trying to shift that lately. I will remind myself that I’m not going to miss anything important by heading out an hour later than normal. Actually, I’ll be using that time to do something important – to better myself. Few things are more important than our health, and it’s time to adjust my priorities.

It’s not Monday or the first day of the month. This day carries no particular significance, but it’s the day that I can decide to do something good for myself. It’s a day that I get to live without pain or illness. It’s a day in which I get to breathe and enjoy my life, and I’m going to respect that gift by doing something good with it.

 

 

 

Dating in The Big Easy is Hard

I’m a plus-size woman who likes to enjoy my life, and I like the idea of meeting someone who wants the same thing. I’m friendly and outgoing. Most of my friends would tell you that I’m confident in almost every circumstance, and in most cases, it’s true.

I am well-groomed, educated, independent and good at a myriad of things. I have talents and hobbies and ambitions (some that that I mention here and many that I don’t.) I have a lot of awesome characteristics, but my weight is the first thing anyone ever sees. Most of time time it defines me before people have a chance to get to know me, and I have mixed feelings about that.

I don’t mind that I’m not desired by everyone. I like attention, sure, but I feel validated and content without the constant need for attention that used to be important to me. I don’t need to be the girl who gets picked up by strangers who want to do her at the bar (or at the auto parts store,) but I’d like to be the woman whose characteristics are attractive and desirable to one man who has his own myriad of attractive characteristics.

It hasn’t been easy to date in New Orleans. (Okay, it doesn’t help that I was hung up on someone for nearly a year,) but recently I decided that I’d let myself try again. I went on a couple of dates while I was out of town,and I clicked with someone here. I was pleasantly surprised by it, and that’s probably all I’ll say about it for quite some time.

Dating in this plus-size body makes it more complicated than it would be if I were thin, but I’m okay with that if it means that I can weed out the majority to get the needle in the haystack.

People often assume that I must feel insecure, especially on dates, but the truth is that I feel pretty good about myself most of the time until society reminds me that I shouldn’t. I don’t remember who said it, but someone made an excellent point recently when they said not to worry about society’s standards because society sucks. I agree, and my hope is that there are guys out there somewhere who agree too.

 

I Can’t Believe That It’s Been Almost Three Years

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost three years to the day since Uncle Wesley died. I was pretty lost during that time.  I lacked faith in myself and in God. I struggled with my beliefs, my utter disdain for people in church and my lack of understanding in why someone like Uncle Wesley had to suffer so viscously.  I also struggled with guilt because I was so relieved that my parents were both healthy.

I was in a bad place, and one Sunday after a week that we were’t sure if he would live through, my uncle preached an entire sermon about faith. I talked about it on my blog right after it happened.  He believed in God, and he had faith that God’s will was best until his last breath.  It’s still hard for me to think of the last night that I saw him without getting teary-eyed.  He told Mom that he loved her, and with one tear streaming down his closed eye, he smiled as he went on to meet Jesus.

He knew how I felt about church and God, but he never failed to remind me of God’s love for me. He accepted me even though I was a complete mess, and it was obvious that he was at peace in spite of his imperfect life. I talked about that on my blog as well.

…feeling the peace that surrounds him already and the faith he has as he spends his last few days on earth has truly been a testament of his authentic belief to me.  People professing to be “christians” usually just piss me off, but Uncle Wesley has shown me what an imperfect human’s life should look like at its best and its worst.

I was filled with a lot of bitterness and anger at that time.  I was completely lacking in direction, and I was hanging on to hope by a thread.  I had no idea that the next few years would lead to extraordinary life change, but it did.

In December of 2012 I met my friend, Jeff, at the mall through my friend, Shannon, and I couldn’t have imagined that he’d become such a close friend!  As we stood by the makeup counter at Macy’s (waiting for our friends) he invited me to church.  Here’s how it went:

Jeff: Hey, you should come to church sometime.

Kenlie: Uh, I’ll be friends with you, but I’m not going to your (expletive) church.

Jeff: Okay.

During that conversation I explained to Jeff why I thought GOD was real, but I also explained why there was no way in hell I was going to church.

As a kid, I was in church (or church activities) several times a week. My dad was the pastor so I was there for EVERYTHING whether I wanted to be or not. I had to put a smile on my face and go regardless of what was happening in my life. I had to sing whether I wanted to or not.  I saw good things happen, and I saw a lot of horrible things happen – things that hurt me, things that made me angry. I did what I was told to do because well-behaved kids do that, but I was never overly concerned about GOD’s presence in my life.

After meeting Jeff I spent the next several months going out of my way to curse and drink in front of him. I waited for him to judge me or tell me off, but he didn’t.  Instead we became friends and eventually, because it’s hard to say no to Candi, who is now his wife, I walked into church.

Now it’s no secret that I have a relationship with God. I love Jesus, and I often talk about how incredible it is that He loves me in spite of myself.  Uncle Wesley’s birthday passed earlier this week, and I smiled as I thought about what he would think of me now. The truth is he’d love me now just as he did then, but I wish he was still here so he could see the changes that have taken place in me.

I wish I could tell him that he was right, that I get it now, that I know God loves me, and that I love Him back.  I wish he could be here Sunday as I lead worship at my church because he loved hearing me sing and because he loved worshipping Jesus. I wish I could have conversations with him about faith. I wish we could sing southern gospel together like we did even when I was far from God. I wish I could talk about the verses in the Bible that have impacted me recently.  I just wish he was here.

Uncle Wesley and Me

There’s a lot of hope, peace and contentement when you believe in God. You get to cling to the fact that you’ll see your loved ones again in Heaven. I’m able to acknowledge that what’s happening in Uncle Wesley’s life today is far better than what would be happening if he were still alive.

I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since he left earth. My life is different now, more settled…I’ve gained some weight, but I’ve also gained peace, friends who know all of my junk and love me anyway, a church family that is filled with other imperfect people who are working on being faith distributors. I’ve begun the process of healing from a time in which my entire world was rocked. I have a steady routine that I didn’t have back then, and I’m more honest with myself and the people around me than I’ve ever been before.

I miss my uncle, and many people that I love still miss him too. I know, in as much as my human brain can comprehend, that Uncle Wesley is in a far better place where he is.  I know that, but I miss him anyway.

 

 

 

 

Quick and Transparent

I’ve been absent lately because I’m finally creating the new blog that I’ve been thinking about for over a year now.  It should be up and going in the next week or two.  I’ve had a lot of good days lately, but I’m aggravated right now.

I’d rather focus my energy on the new blog and all of the reasons that I have to be thankful, but I’d like to get this off of my chest too.

—–

I’d like to go home and curl up on the sofa with someone that I love.  Doughnuts tend to be my fall back plan since there’s no ‘someone that I love” at home.  I realize that Krispy Kreme isn’t going to bring me inner joy or peace, but it will satisfy my need for instant gratification. I want to cuddle! 

It makes me feel weak and pathetic, and it’s happening at a time when everything else in my life is going incredibly well.  These feelings are not going to define my mood all day, but I know how important it is to acknowledge them so I can move on from them.

Am I the only one whose natural instinct wants you to turn to food when you’re lacking affection?

 

UPDATE: I did not eat doughnuts. After posting this, I completely forgot about them, and I drove straight home. This is why blogging has been such a helpful tool for me. I felt the feelings, then I let them go.

 

Life with Skinny Friends

Most of my friends don’t have weight problems, but I do. It’s fun to go out to eat with them or to bake for them or to have a drink at Starbucks with them. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that either. I’d trade six-pack abs for enjoyable food any day, but I do need to think about what I eat even when the people around me aren’t thinking about it.

My friend, Alicia, is hot. (I can say that because she’s my BFF.) She is barely over 5 ft. tall and doesn’t weigh much more than 100 pounds. She’s tiny, but she fantasizes about sushi just as much as I do.

My friend and colleague, Brandon, is also hot. He’s tall and lean and perfect looking, and like Alicia, he’s Italian. He loves to cook, and he does it very well. Everything he makes is delicious, and he enjoys it. He also works out hard and regularly, and he seems to have a good grip on when to say no.

Another friend is gorgeous. She’d tell you that she wants to lose weight, but she’s perfect looking already. If you have any doubts about that, spend the day with her. Guys want to marry her before they even talk to her. It’s insane. We do a lot together, and she doesn’t have to watch what she eats how I do.

The list could be much longer, but you get the idea. I spend a lot of time with people who love food too, but none of them need to lose 150 pounds.

For some reason, it’s more enjoyable to eat with other people who love to eat, and there’s no shortage of those people in my life. I know that it is 100% my responsibility to limit the amount of food that I consume, but I’m beginning to recognize that eating with others has always given me a feeling of validation.

I’m not a binge eater. I’m a social eater. I am an emotional eater, but I’d rather eat among friends or family than alone. I’d rather dine solo at a restaurant than to sit at my dining table at home.

As I was eating dinner with a few of my colleagues from Plus Inc. recently, I realized that seeing someone else (someone smaller) accept a second helping gave me an emotionally charged green light to have seconds myself.

That behavior is something that has always existed in me, but I never realized it until that night at dinner.

Recognizing the emotions of validation that exist when I eat with others will allow me to adjust my behavior now. My mind was blown, and at this moment, I realize that I need a better reason to consume calories than “well, everyone else is doing it.”

Would I jump off of a bridge just because everyone else is doing it?

Of course I wouldn’t. Why would I let my eating habits be dictated by what others are doing, as opposed to my own nutritional needs?

I’ve been reflecting on my habits and desires lately, and I’m trudging through them because I want to continually work to become a healthier version of myself. I want to control my habits instead of letting them control me.

I’m more mindful than I’ve been in years, and I’m confident that it will start to show on the scale at some point too.

Things Change

Clint is moving to Chicago in a few weeks, and when he called to tell me about the job offer, he asked if I thought he should go.  My opinion matters a lot to that guy, and I don’t like it lightly.  I asked him if he wanted to go, and he answered the way I thought he would.  He said, ‘yes.’

As hard as it is to think of living in downtown New Orleans without him, it’s easy to be happy for him as he moves into his next phase of life.  He graduated from Tulane recently, and he got a promotion that allows him to move into a bigger market (which will be a solid career move for him.)

I tend to get mushy when I talk about “The Suit” because I could never say thank you enough for the friendship that he’s given me.  So many of the incredibly positive changes that have occurred in my life since 2012, happened as a result of his willingness to say “Hey…who you are is okay.  You’re great the way you are, and if people disagree, they’re not worth your time.”

One of the defining moments of my life happened in an empty hallway at Tulane on day before our first final exam together in 2012.  I had just been on ABC News Nightline, and I was taking heat from online bullies who hate fat people.  One particular message that I received, in which the person threatened to find me, rape me and kill me hit me hard….really hard.

I was in tears, not realizing that anyone else was around, and Clint showed up right in front of me.  He read the repugnant words on the screen of my cell phone, and he gently put his hands on my cheeks.  He said, “Kenlie, look at me.  You’re safe.  This a-hole isn’t here; these words aren’t reality.  This is your reality, and he grinned.”

It was in that moment that I realized that my reality was safe and happy.  In reality, I was walking into class, surrounded by people who respected me, and I was finally creating the life that I wanted to have for myself.  I’m not sure what I had been so afraid of before, but that day, the fear began to subside.

Clint was instrumental in what would become a series of radical life changes for me that included accepting myself, finding a church home, remembering who I am in Christ and discovering that my circumstances could and would change.

I never knew what it was like to have a friend like him, and now I never want to know what it’s like without him. It looks like it’s time to add Chicago to my favorite destinations…There could be worse places to visit.

Kenlie and Clint at George Strait and Reba