Flying Back Home

I avoid the topic of air travel on my blog most of the time because it has been such a controversial topic in the past.  It’s on my mind today because I’ve been on various airplanes and in various airports, and it was so nice to travel without anxiety.

I started my new year with friends, then I quickly left to help a friend move to Oklahoma and to visit Dad there. I got to spend some time with Aunt Janice, and I met a guy that I enjoyed spending time with too.

When I left New Orleans, I drove up with a friend who is a neurologist. She took a new job in Oklahoma and wanted to have a friend along to support her during the move, which worked great for both of us since I lived in Oklahoma City for years.  I love the drive between New Orleans and Oklahoma City, but I flew home because my friend wasn’t returning with me. I already miss her, but we’re planning to take a trip somewhere in the spring or summer.

My flight home was booked on Delta, and I’ve been happy with them since I started flying first class. After opting out of a coach flight in July, the last several flights that I’ve taken with them have been stress-free and painless, and I’ve learned that paying the upgrade fee to first class is worth the cost (at least for me.)

I like the endless mixed drinks, but more than that, I like knowing that I don’t have to worry about whether or not the person next to me will feel crowded or not. It’s not always fun or possible to spend the extra cash to upgrade, but sometimes it doesn’t cost much more than economy.  It is definitely worth the added cost to feel zero anxiety before flying, and it costs significantly less than buying two seats most of the time too.

I gave myself the opportunity to find happiness, contentment and joy last year, and I did. Losing weight wasn’t my priority, and I have gained about 35 pounds as a result. It’s tough to feel insecure about my size when flying in coach, but that’s something that will change when my body does.

Delta doesn’t require larger passengers to purchase an additional seat in coach; they accommodate all passengers, but it’s better for me this way (at least for now.) I still fly JetBlue when I head back to the east coast, but Delta goes everywhere I go so they’re #1 in my book these days (even with connections and delays.)

Do you have a favorite airline? If so, which one Is it?

The Reason I Didn’t Get On the Airplane

I was supposed to be in California last week.  My plan was to fly home from Los Angeles tomorrow, but I never left New Orleans.  Last Monday, as I went to check-in for my flight on Delta, I made a decision to stay home.  Delta’s policy for plus-size passengers is amazing, and it makes me respect them as an airline.  I just couldn’t get on the plane.

I was scheduled to fly into Los Angeles via Salt Lake City last Tuesday.  I was excited to head to Fitcation ’13 in Paso Robles, CA where I planned to do some amazing things with an amazing group of women.  They did it, but I did not.  I couldn’t talk about it last week because I felt so much shame.

Seriously, if you could shame someone into losing weight, I’d already be at goal.  It just doesn’t work that way.  I don’t thrive on fear or self-hatred or negativity, but it didn’t stop me from feeling those emotions last week.

When I looked at the check-in e-mail from Delta, I noticed that my seat selection didn’t look right.  It seemed as though I would be on a smaller plan that I had anticipated which made me incredibly nervous about the seats.  When I called to check into it, I learned that the seat on one of my flights would be smaller than 17 inches, and I cringed.  17 inches is pretty standard, and the only airline I fly who has bigger seats is Jet Blue.  Some seats are smaller though, and that’s a big problem for me.

I have had many positive experiences with Delta.  They are a great airline because they accommodate their passengers discretely and respectfully, but there was absolutely no way that I was getting on a plane in which I knew I was too big for the seat.  I can’t do that to myself.  I won’t do that to myself…ever.

My history with airplane seats is no secret.  I’ve been in a car on the way to JFK in front of reporters and cameras as I openly admit the anxiety that I face with flying due to my very public history with a different airline.  I love to travel, but I need to fit in the seat. According to one of the supervisors that I spoke to, Delta has a the right to change planes at their discretion.  I just didn’t know what to do so I stayed home.

It’s embarrassing to admit that I am now that person – you know, the one who stayed home, letting my size and the fear of its repercussions keep me from enjoying  what would have been a phenomenal trip.  Now I am the person that I’ve been fighting for in a very public manner for a long time now.

I missed an incredible week filled with friends and new experiences, and I have to admit it because if I don’t, it will continue to bother me just as it has over the last several days.  I made the best of my week at home, and some wonderful things happened.  I’m generally pretty happy, but my contentment was tainted by my faults and failures and shortcomings all week.

Now I’m trying to let it go.  I’m blessed, and I know it.  My life is fuller and more satisfying than it has ever been, and I don’t hate myself just because I’m not perfect.  My experience just highlighted the work that I still have to do.

I’m tired of my name being synonymous with flight issues, and I’m going to keep fighting this battle until I win it.  I’m going to continue loving myself and assuming that others will too.  I’m not going to sugarcoat my problems, but I am going to keep trying to fix them.

 

What I Loved About Fitbloggin

Last week while I was on a plane I wrote a gushy post about everything that I was looking forward to once I arrived in Portland.  The week before had been incredibly stressful, and I was determined to leave it in the past so I focused on what would make me happy.  I scheduled it, but it never published.  Oops!  I scheduled a Friend Makin’ Mondays post (knowing that I’d still be in Portland on the following Monday,)  and that published early.  Oops!  I had some technical issues last week, and I hope they’re resolved now.  I suppose we’ll see in time, won’t we? ;)

Once I arrived in Portland, I didn’t spend much time blogging.  I wrote a post for Fitbloggin.com, but apart from that, I enjoyed everything as it happened.  I did a little tweeting, Facebook-ing and Instagram-ing, but I didn’t spend much time looking at my computer screen or my phone which is odd for me.  I also managed to miss an entire week of news, and for this Anderson Cooper junkie, that’s unheard of!

As a blogger it’s easy to forget to live “in the now.”  I often joke about my love for social media by saying “Why do it if you can’t take a picture of it and post it on your blog?”  But being there last week and absorbing all of the experiences with old friends and new friends made me happy.  I felt as though I had walked into a big hug when I arrived and that it continued throughout the conference.  I knew that going would be a good thing, and it was a great thing.

I saw several friends that I haven’t seen in ages.  I’m always happy to see Leslie and Jaason.  They’re always at the top of my list.  We dined at lovely 5-star restaurants, tasted various types of ice cream at Salt and Straw and spent time joking with each other, discussing life and other things.  Meeting Leslie is easily the best thing that has come as a result of Fitbloggin, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve met so many wonderful people throughout the years.

Leslie McClure and Kenlie Tiggeman Fitbloggin 13

Jaason and Kenlie at Fitbloggin

I was also excited this year because my long-time friend, KeepItUpDavid, was going to be in attendance for the first time.  It was hard to contain my excitement when I saw him…so I didn’t.  I immediately began hugging him and gushing about how wonderful it was to see him again, and it was as awesome as I thought it would be.  We got to spend some time outside of the conference too, and I’m so thankful that he was there.

kenlie-all-the-weigh-keep-it-up-david

Keep it Up David Kenlie BookieBoo MerBear

I also made some new friends this year.  I had met Leah (aka BookieBoo) at conferences in the past, but we enjoyed a night out on the town this year.  I knew she’d love David too, and I was right.  What’s not to love? :)   I also got to spend time with Meredith and Tasha (who took the photo above) as well.

After Friday morning’s 6 am boot camp, we stopped in to report the news.  (No we didn’t.)  We did get a cool tour of KGW’s studio though!

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And after Zumba, I went to a session for those of us who have a lot to lose, and Emmie gave us flowers when we cried.  Did a few ugly tears stop us from taking photos?  Of course not!

Fitbloggin-Peonies

I went to lunch with Lyn and enjoyed deep conversations about our lives – where they are, what we’d like to do differently, etc.  It felt good to be so candid with someone who understands what’s inside my head, and I hope she’ll find her way to New Orleans sooner rather than later.  (Hint, Hint Lyn!)

And what would Fitbloggin be without Martinus and Dre?  These dudes crack me up, and I couldn’t even begin to describe how awesome they are if I tried.  Martinus is the man.  He knows how to sport a bow tie, but he’s just as comfortable in sneakers.  His blog is almost a year old now, and I can’t really imagine what this community would be like without him.  Take a minute to say hello to him and wish him a happy birthday. :)  And Dre just makes me smile every time I see him.  What can I say?  These guys are great…

martinus 300poundsandrunnin missionmeltdown dre

I spent time with so many people who matter to me that I couldn’t possibly post pictures of all of them without driving myself crazy, but you get the idea.  It was a great week in which I laughed, cried, learned, sweated, made new friends, kissed a cow and enjoyed being surrounded by people who “get” me.

There’s so much more I could say about last week, but I haven’t even made it home yet so I’m exhausted.  After the conference ended I stuck around to see friends who lived in the area and didn’t attend Fitbloggin.  I met my long-time web friend, Melissa, and I also met another friend (who will likely be at Fitbloggin in 2014, Emily.)  Another friend who doesn’t live in the area drove in so we could spend some time together too, and that feeling I described above (like I walked into one big hug) lasted even after the conference was over.

Melissa and Kenlie  Vancouver, Washington

Emily and Kenlie Portland, OR

I’ll return to New Orleans tomorrow just in time to celebrate the nation’s birthday, then mine (on Friday.)  I have family visiting too which is something that I always look forward to.  I have so much more to say about Fitbloggin and what I learned about myself last week, but I’ll need to some time to settle in before I collect my thoughts.  I also have some work to do which will take priority for a bit when I get home.

The last ten days have been amazing, and I’m so thankful for the community of people that I was able to connect with once again.  I’m already looking forward to next year, and can’t wait to paint the town with these people…in Nashville or Austin.

Until then…

 

Packing For A Week of Travel

Traveling is different when you’re obese.  I have to take things into consideration that the average size person doesn’t have to think about, and I’m ready for this trip.

  • How big are the seats on the airplane? 
  • Should I board early to ask for a seat belt extension? 
  • Can I pack a week’s worth of clothes (plus workout clothes and sneakers) in one suitcase? 
  • Which airline should I fly?
  • Will I have to take a connecting flight? 
  • What kind of snacks should I pack so I don’t have to eat crappy, overpriced airline food?
  • Will the person next to me be rude? 

It’s not easy traveling when you weigh more than the average person, and if you know me (or watch the news) you may know that most trips I take are fine even though I’ve had more than my fair share of horrific travel experiences.  You may also know that I do whatever I can to ensure that my trips will go smoothly for myself and everyone around me.

I’m looking forward to a long day of travel tomorrow, and when shopping for this flight I chose Frontier Airlines because I’ve had several good experiences with them in the past.  I have a long layover that I’m not looking forward to, but I’m prepared for it.  I plan to read Entwined in You, the next book in the Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day which will likely keep my mind occupied.

I haven’t needed a seat belt extension on my last few flights, but I’ll probably still ask for one out of habit and insecurity.

My goal is to pack a week’s worth of clothes into one suitcase too because I always check and additional bag when I come home from Fitbloggin.  Packing for this conference is tricky too because it requires more clothing than other trips.  I need clothes for working out, going out and for learning sessions during the day, and I have to be picture ready too, of course.  ;)

The plan is to bring one pair of sneakers (because I’ll probably receive a new pair when I get there) and only a couple of other pairs for the week.  As I started packing I noticed that there’s an interesting mix of sparkle, lace and dri-fit in my bag that only happens when I pack for this yearly trip.

I’m looking forward to getting to Portland and recharging with friends while learning how to be a better blogger among other things.  I hope you’ll check out my live blogging on Fitbloggin.com, and if we’re friends, I hope to see you there.

Do you do anything special when planning for a trip?  Will I see you at Fitbloggin this year?

 

 

 

A Thousand Miles

I’m driving to the east coast today, and I’ll be in the car with a myriad of opportunities to make poor choices with food.  I’d really like to get there and honestly say that I was mindful so I’m posting here to keep myself accountable.

I will probably indulge in snack foods, but I don’t want to go overboard just because I’m in the car.  That has happened far too many times in the past, and I know it doesn’t have to be that way.

Do you have any tips for me?  If so, I’ll check them out when I’m in the passenger’s seat.

See you on the flip side, friends…

 

 

Failure, Self-Doubt and a Side of Onion Rings

I feel like a complete and utter failure right now.  Most of my posts are filled with a bright side, but right now need to face my truth.

I’ve only had two solid workouts in the last week.  I have eaten crap and too much of it.  I feel bloated, lazy and exhausted.  I’m not sure if I’m fighting feelings of stress and uncertainty or just lethargy.  Regardless, it does not feel good, and it needs to change – NOW!

I made some lofty goals for the month of May, and I didn’t achieve most of them.  I would be proud of myself anyway if I had done my best, but I didn’t do my best – not even close.  And again, I have to face the harsh reality that I have wasted time that I cannot get back.

These were my goals:

  • Complete at least 1,000 minutes of cardio – a piece of cake when I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing…(I’ll accomplish this one today…)
  • 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.

Um, I could make excuses, but they’d be just that – excuses.  I worked out hard several times in the last four weeks, but I didn’t do nearly as much as I should have.  My travels were intense and unexpected for half of the month,  but I worked out with Richard and friends a couple times.  Kent and I went for a hike at Griffith park one afternoon and walked around San Francisco for a while another afternoon.  I also rocked the elliptical at Fitbloggin’ while Emmie joked that she might have to come tear me away to join the impromptu pool party that I enjoyed post workout. 

I did some good things for my body this month, but I also did some things that are not so good.  I downed a few bottles of champagne (though not all at once.)  I ate trail mix like I wasn’t popping 10 P+ at a time, and I ate a burger after midnight one two different nights – one with onion rings and one with a milkshake (which might have been okay without all of the other garbage I indulged in all month.) 

I’ve been under pressure lately though it seemed to ease a bit over the weekend.  I’m not sleeping well at night so I’m constantly tired.  My mind is screaming at me to give in and be lazy while my body is craving purposeful movement.  I’m fighting inner demons that tell me I’m a failure…that I haven’t done enough, and that I’m not really going to reach my goal.

Hey, inner demons…F*** you!  You are not going to win!  You will not convince me to give up or make me believe, as I once did, that I’m not worth the effort it takes to accomplish these life-changing goals.   Fear will no longer rule my thoughts or rob me of rest.  And the heartless, faceless jerks who hide behind their computer screens will not convince me that they’re right about me.  I admit that I’ve been overwhelmed and tired and uncertain, but I will not give up.  I will not back down.  I will do what I need to do today.

When I started writing this post, my friend, Britt, suggested that I go back and read a post that I wrote earlier this month.  And something I said at the end spoke to me.  I wrote,I can tell you that by starting and not giving up, we’re better today than we were yesterday.”  My actions over the last month matter, and i regret not doing more.  But they don’t matter as much as what I will do today.  I have the opportunity to start making positive choices for myself – choices that make me much happier than a burger ever could, so I’m going to go for it,

I know this is true, and I know what it takes to turn these feelings of self-doubt around.  I know how good I’ll feel after a few days of mindful eating and heart-pumping workouts.  And I know that forgiving myself for the mistakes I’ve made is an important part of this process, and it’s really my only option. 


I’m moving forward right now.  I hit the restart button in my brain today, and tomorrow is going to be better than yesterday because I’m going to make it that way.

So Much To Say

So much has happened in the last couple of weeks, and I’m not even sure where to start.  I think I’ll start with some pictures and stories from my recent trip to California.  It was an incredible week filled with old friends and new friends, and it changed my entire perspective on my life and what I want out of it.

Kent and I arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon then headed to Heidi and Tom’s place before Slimmons.  If you read my blog then you already know that I worked out with Richard, but in case you missed it, here’s a video. ;)

 

After working out, Kent and I ate dinner (prepared by Heidi and Tom) which was amazing. From left to right is Tom, Kent, Heidi, Me, Jim and Rochelle.  Kent and I are the only ones who aren’t already “regulars” at Slimmons.  Maybe I’ll join them someday? ;)

 

I’m not exaggerating when I say that these foodies know what they’re doing!  Everything the prepared was delicious and satisfying, and the fact that they do it regularly – and with health in mind – is mind blowing!  That’s why I asked Heidi to write a guest post here.  If you want to know more about how to be a foodie while losing weight – or if you just want to meet someone awesome, check out her blog here.

This is the homemade panzanella they made for us. Yum!
And curried cauliflower. Mmmm…

Over the next several days, my travel pal and I “hiked” at Griffith Park, toured the campus at UCLA, visited the Hollywood Farmer’s Market with Heidi and Tom, rode bikes along the coast in Santa Monica and Venice with Heidi and took a mini trip (within our trip) up the Pacific Coast Highway where we eventually met up with Foodie McBody for dinner.  We ate Burmese food then slept so we could hit San Fransisco the following morning before heading to Napa.  Before our mini trip, we met up with David for dinner too!  Heidi and David have been friends for 14 years, and I feel pretty lucky to call them friends now too!

We ate sushi. Enough said.
Heidi took us to the farmer’s market because she knows all about my obsession with oddly colored vegetables which came about as a result of knowing David. While we were there, I discovered a new love for sugar snap peas! Fruits and vegetable flavors come alive at the farmer’s market.  I ate strawberries and sugar snap peas and oranges and cherries all morning. ;)
As  I was riding my bike – something that I’ve missed terribly – I asked myself “Why don’t I live here?”  I love the beach, hanging with friends, working out with Richard and sunshine so it makes sense, right?  And lately, New York has felt cold and lonely – and the weather has been awful!  I heart L.A.
Kent let me take the lead for a while until Heidi and I asked him to do it.  We rode for an hour and forty-five minutes right after working out with Richard!  He’s a serious cyclist, but he had no trouble strolling with us. =)
It was so windy in San Francisco, but we ate lunch outside, enjoying the scenery before exploring the city a little.  Kent and I (who have both lived in NYC) understood why people love SF, but it’s safe to say that our hearts belong in Southern California.
Later that day, we toured a vineyard in Napa, learned about wine (and tasted it, of course) with Jules from Big Girl Bombshell!  Two of my favorite bloggers within 24 hours!  I’m lucky, I know! =)
During our wine tasting, they tried to show me how to open a bottle of wine.  I struggled with it for a minute..My solution? Let Kent help. Ha..I think Kent and Jules would agree that I was good at drinking it. ;)

I’m definitely lucky to have a friend like Kent.  He’s the only guy I know who could have been as excited as I was (okay, maybe not that excited, but excited) to workout with Richard Simmons, sing karaoke as we drove up the coast while keeping me completely grounded and even-keeled as I went into a pressure-filled week post vacay.

I also got to see another person who has been an important part of my world since 2007 – my friend, Joe.  It would take a long time to tell you all of the reasons I like Joe so instead, here’s a picture…It was so good to hug him!

We all had dinner together one evening and even had the opportunity to add Clarely from TheCurvyNerd into the mix.  I still believe that she and Heidi were separated at birth!

Oh!  Did I mention that KeepItUpDavid was at Slimmons Saturday too?  He’s a regular, but he showed up early with Heidi and me for the first part of my Today Show interview before we sweated together with Richard.  Having them with me was so much fun! We danced, burned calories and  did strength training like rock stars. =)

The week I spent in California was filled with fantastic memories. I look forward to spending time with all of these awesome people again soon!  I have a lot more to say about the last couple of weeks, but for now, I’ll leave you with this…

There’s a lot going on inside my head, and I’m still processing it.  But it was a blessing to have quality time to think on things – especially in such a beautiful place.  I’m a lucky girl, and I couldn’t be more thankful for my life.

My Latest Flight on Southwest Airlines

If you read my blog then you know I felt some anxiety as I prepared to head to the airport yesterday.  My friend, Britt, and I booked this flight on Southwest Airlines from Baltimore long before the news covered my story.  And when the reality set in that my incredible weekend would soon come to an end, I felt sick to my stomach.

I wondered if people at the airport would recognize me as they did on the streets of NYC and if they’d be friendly or mean…I wondered if I’d face angry flight attendants or fellow passengers.  And I wondered if I would be singled out by gate attendants.  I shared these concerns on my blog and with friends at Fitbloggin’ and decided that I would walk into the airport just as I have on many other flights – without the fear of being singled out. Perhaps I’ll share my thoughts on how the airline industry could alleviate that fear for all passengers later, but for now I’m pleased to say that everything  went smoothly.

My flight on Southwest Airlines yesterday was fantastic from start to finish. From the courtesy I received at check-in, to the gate attendant who promptly and effectively answered my questions, everyone was well-mannered and friendly.  I was not asked to purchase an additional ticket nor was I singled out in any other way.  It was clear, after checking in and walking to my gate, that I would have a good flight, and I did.

I’m not sure when or how often I’ll travel with Southwest in the future, but I can confidently say – based on yesterday’s experience – that I would fly with them again.  For now, I will continue to seek consistency from the airline industry as a whole, but I will also put my top priority back on the forefront of my blog and life – to continue living a healthy life while working toward my personal health and weight-loss goals.

In the last few weeks, I’ve realized that I have reason to feel confident and strong, but I’ve also been reminded that I have a long road ahead.  I’m ready to use the strength and determination that I had in losing the first 127 pounds to lose the last 130 pounds.  So if you’re new to my blog, welcome.  If you can be courteous and respectful, please feel free to stick around and watch me change my life.  And if you’ve been here all along then give yourself a big hug for me ;)  because I’m utterly thankful for your unwavering support, and I’m looking forward to more of it as I continue on my quest to go all the weigh…

Fitbloggin’ Friends

I have so much to say about Fitbloggin’ and everything else awesome that has been happening in my life lately, but here a few pics for now…I’ll share more details this week!

 

Britt and Me

B-fry, B and me…Can you believe it?!
Jen and me..both sporting her Prior Fat Girl bracelets!
 
Emily, Me, Britt and Emmie having a little too much fun! =)
Foodie! Love her..I know Kent is envious that I’m here with this awesome lady!
JackSh*t! Yay!
Emmie and me…drinkin’ it up..
Mizfit – she’s the reason I’m here. I love this woman.
Alan and me..

Dreading It

I’ve just experienced an incredible weekend, and I’m not ready for it to end. I never look forward to the end of fun weekends, but I’m dreading this trip home more than ever because I have to fly again…on Southwest.I booked this flight before my story made the news. And tomorrow I have to take that flight which makes me feel sick to my stomach.

I flew first class on American Airlines last week – best flight ever thanks to the lovely flight attendant as well as my incredible flying buddy – and as I said, I’ve purchased two seats many times in the past. At this point, I can sit with the armrests down without “spilling over”into the next seat. And I’ll be flying with friends tomorrow so I know I should relax and enjoy the last bit of time with people who support me and encourage me. But I find myself worrying about the boarding process because I can’t think of many things I dislike more than flying on Southwest.

That being said, my experience at the Southwest counter when I was en route to Los Angeles was fine.  They did everything by the book, and Kent and I had no issues with our flight.  I sat in the middle seat because Kent is so tall that he has to extend his legs into the isle when no one is walking through, and I was fortunate to sit next to a lovely woman who chatted with us throughout the flight. 

I’ll check in tomorrow and hope for excellent service, but I’ll be a little nervous too until we’re in the air.  I’m not sure how to release that fear so I’m sharing it here because that’s what this blog has always been about – sharing my fears, facing them and overcoming them.

Wish me luck….