Do You Have Health Insurance?

I don’t spend a lot of time complaining about the government because I respect our leaders even when I don’t agree with them.  That said, I think it’s ridiculous that I’m struggling to decide whether or not to keep health insurance due to the inane spike in costs.

I currently pay $222 per month, but that’s about to change.  I’m single, and it’s been over a year since I had a doctor visit for anything other than the basics.  ( And I rarely show up for those.)  I am in no way abusing the system.  I pay into it, but I count myself lucky that I haven’t had any substantial need for healthcare.

As a student at Tulane, I have two choices: purchase insurance through the school  or provide proof that I have healthcare.  If I don’t, I’ll incur fees that are completely separate from the fees that are completely separate from anyone fees that I will incur from the government.

Now, instead of paying $222 per month, I’ll be forced to pay nearly $400 per month. The cheapest option (with a high deductible) is $340 per month.  That’s a significant increase, especially since Obamacare was supposed to make healthcare “better.”  And I’m not alone. Earlier this year, a 3,137-county analysis published by the Manhattan Institute showed Obamacare increased 2014 Individual-Market premiums by an average of 49%. It’s hard to imagine paying that amount of money for something that I don’t typically use.  It’s also terrifying to think of not having health insurance in the event that I really do need it.

I realize that Americans are forced to have healthcare now,  but do you have healthcare?  I’m pretty sure that my answer will be no a few days from now.

Until then…

Friends, Fitness and Other Stuff

I know that I mentioned that I’m working on a new blog, but when I start thinking about replacing this one with something else, I start wondering if it’s a good idea.  The name obviously doesn’t have the same meaning as it did when I started writing here, but it feels like me.

It’s always been about so much more than weight-loss.  It’s about the reasons that I gained weight in the first place, the reasons that I struggle so much to lose it.  It’s about finding happiness and peace and strength to do the things that scare me and invigorate me.  I’ve found a lot of that through God, family, friends and my church, but I don’t know if I’m ready to let go of something that has been such an important tool for my growth.

Kenlie and Friends

The truth is that if I knew how to give this blog the facelift that it needs, I’d simply do that.  I just don’t know much about the technical part of blogging, which is why it’s always been so simple here.  Maybe I should work on figuring that out (even though the other blog name is pretty awesome too.)

In other news, school has started again, and I can’t decide which classes to take.  I also decided that I wouldn’t drink anything at Starbucks this month until after I completed a workout.  It’s my home away from home, and I think it’ll work as pretty good motivation.

Last night while I was comfortably knitting on my sofa, the fire alarms went off in my building.  I put my sneakers on and walked from my floor to the ground floor (because we couldn’t use the elevators,) then I quickly walked up several flights of stairs in the parking garage to get to my car so I could leave.  My heart was pounding a little by the end, but I looked at it as a bonus workout.

Knitting

I’m looking forward to September because I love this time of year.  I made an exercise goal that has nothing to do with numbers, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it impacts my health.

Is anyone else starting a new semester?  Do you have any goals for the month?

Can We Really Be Fat and Happy?

I rarely refer to myself or others as ‘fat’ even though I am. The word has such a negative connotation, and I choose to focus on my positive attributes more than my negative ones. I’m smart, thoughtful and caring, and I’m not afraid to admit it when I screw up. I don’t mind being the first to say that I’m sorry after an argument, and I’m not afraid to chase the goals in my life that haunted me for years. I can be a great girlfriend (when I have a significant other,) and I ampassionate about helping people.

I could go on and on about my positive qualities. (Don’t act surprised. Bloggers are narcissistic!) I know what I’m good at, and there is no shortage of reasons to love myself. I have experienced the kind of joy and peace that has changed my life over the last couple of years, but I’m not as focused on my health as I used to be.

I exercise more than the average person, but it’s not the priority that it once was. Healthy food still makes its way into my meals almost daily, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as it once was. I have to admit that I miss that feeling of control that I once had, but in most other areas I’m happier now than I was when I was losing weight.

It feels great to make goals and to stick to them, and it feels awesome to achieve the desired results after hard work. On the flip side, the driving force behind my weight loss goals came from a desire to feel loved and validated by myself and others, and I’ve experienced those feelings more since living in New Orleans that ever before.

I feel content in almost every area of my life, and I wake up happy and refreshed almost everyday. These are the feelings that I was fighting so hard to gain as I lost weight, and now I have them. People love and accept me just as I am. I love and accept me just as I am.

It’s hard to believe that I ever looked in the mirror and hated the woman staring back at me. I love her now, and I want what’s best for her. It’s just not as black and white as it was before. I don’t subscribe to the thought that reaching a certain number on the scale will fulfill me.

I do think it’s important to get to what feels like a healthy weight for myself, but I don’t know what that number is. I don’t dream about hitting a particular number. I dream of meeting someone who loves and desires me even though my clothing size isn’t made up of single digits like many of my BFF’s. I dream of living in a in a that society doesn’t think that being a size 24 is the most offensive thing that a person can ever be.

Leslie
Being obese makes life harder than it should be sometimes, and I know that somewhere within me is the power to change it. My personal experience showed me how good it feels to experience significant weight-loss, but the same experience helped me see the value in enjoying life without the constant stress and restrictions of counting points or counting calories or saying no.
I’m searching for a balance (and have been for months,) and I seem to be feel the best when I’m mindful of what I’m consuming. I also feel good when I exercise regularly because endorphins are awesome.

Often times we strive to lose weight because we think it’s what we need to be happy, but the truth is that most of us are looking for the same things everyday – love, peace, grace and acceptance. Having those things makes me happy, and those truths aren’t going to change even if my body does.

It’s Not Only About The Numbers

I don’t talk about my weight or (lack of) efforts here much here because I don’t see the point in it. I’ve gained weight, and I don’t like it. I know that I need to make some changes if I want my weight to change, blah, blah, blah…

I’d like to start seeing the numbers decrease again, but more importantly, I’d like to regain control of my habits.

It was a pretty simple process for me. Eat mostly healthy food, track it and exercise. Simple enough, but it’s not something that I’ve been focused on over the last year. I haven’t exactly given up on reaching my health goals, but I haven’t done anything to achieve them in a long, long time – until last week.

There’s something about Fitbloggin that makes you believe that you can do anything. It could be the fact that there are hundreds of people in the same place who recognize that it’s not easy even though they also realize it’s possible.

When I got home from Savannah I decided to make a simple change. I didn’t worry about changing anything except this – I decided to track my food.

It’s astoundingly easy to pass on the doughnuts when you’re calculating the calories and fat in them. For me, tracking food makes it real. I want to be proud of the things that I write down so I make better decisions. I drink more water. I try harder to do healthy things, and I feel better as a result.

I’m a week into tracking, and I don’t know what the scale says. I don’t care what it says, but I know my body. I know that I weigh a little less than I did last week because I’ve made good choices. That realization leads me to want to make more good choices.

Maybe I don’t have it all figured out, and maybe it will still be a struggle. Regardless, it’s been a long time since my food choices were intentional, and it makes me feel good.

Has anyone else noticed a difference in your food choices due to journaling them? Am I the only one who chooses an apple over a cookie when I know I’m about to write it down?

Honest and Uninspired

I don’t love blogging here anymore.  I like sharing my thoughts, but it’s been a long time since I was interested in discussing my health here.

I’ve droned on about my feelings of regret and failure because I’m not succeeding in the area of weight-loss, but while I was in Savannah a friend posed a very important question that made me think about failure and success in a different way.

She asked, “What are your top 3 priorities in life right now?”  I listed things like school, my relationship with God, people in my life, etc.  Nowhere on my list of priorities did weight-loss appear, and she lovely pointed out that I’m not failing in weight-loss because I’m not trying to lose weight.

When I made it a priority, the weight came off.  When I counted points and exercised, the results showed.  When I held myself accountable, I succeeded, but it’s been a long, long time since I have bothered with that.

My priorities have been placed on other things, and I’ve been open about that.  Eating delicious food with my friends makes me happy.  It’s not the only thing that makes me happy, but I like it.  Exercise makes me happy too, but that’s easier to forget.  I love the feeling I get when I push through a tough workout.  I like both things, but I’ve allowed myself to forget the importance of moderation in both.

I’m not sure when I’ll find a new, more focused groove.  I’m also not sure that I’ll share it here when I do.  I wish that I could tell you that I’m on track to losing 150 pounds, but I’m not.  It’s not my top priority, and it has to be if it’s going to happen.

I wish that the reality didn’t seem so somber, but I’m just being honest about where I am.  I’ve experienced an incredible amount of positive change in the last couple of years, and I hope it continues in a way that helps me to regain control and to lose weight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fitbloggin, Friends, NOLA Church and Stuff

I can’t believe that it’s already finals week for the summer session.  The last few weeks have been busy and awesome, and while I haven’t made much time to check in here, I decided to do that this evening.  (I should be studying for a final exam that I’m taking tomorrow at noon, but blogging is more fun than studying – regardless of the topic.)

My weekend was jam packed.  Brandi, who many of you probably know from DietsinReview.com, spent a couple of days at my place with her family.  They weren’t here long, but we managed to explore the French Quarter, eat a po boy sandwich and beignets, take a nap during a thunderstorm and take a selfie or two (while I was a sweaty mess!)

Brandi and Kenlie

I did homework spent Sunday morning at church and had lunch with some special people too.  I am part of the worship team at NOLA Church, and God’s presence filled the place.  It was pretty amazing.

Kenlie NOLA Church

During Monte’s sermon, he said that God’s rewards always come with responsibility, and that hit me like a ton of bricks.

Sometimes (okay, most of the time) it’s not easy for me to invite people to church or to share with them that Jesus wants to be in their lives.  I hate ‘pushing’ these important, well-meaning statements on people because I *hated* being invited to church.  If you wanted to piss me off, all you had to do was tell me to go to church.  (Seriously?  I know…)

I still don’t always feel comfortable pushing my beliefs on anyone, but sometimes I want to share my faith.  If you don’t want to hear it, stop reading now, and come back on a different day.

 

Here are some things that have been on my mind lately:

  • Life without God is a downward spiral.  I’m in a small group, in which Monte is unpacking the book of Romans, and  it’s been awesome so far.  If you want to understand God’s character, read Romans. I can’t tell you how much better life is with God than it is without Him.
  • Religion can’t save you.  Following a set of rules, then showing off how well you did on Sunday is not part of God’s plan for me.
  • God’s rewards always come with responsibility.  When you’re involved in planting a church, there’s a long list of things that you have an opportunity to do.  We’re currently worshipping in a construction zone, which means that we have to do set-up and tear downs each week.  Some of us host small groups or Bible studies, etc.  I do social media and lead worship with an amazing team, and it all takes time.  With great reward (a permanent location, brains, etc.) comes great responsibility.  Check out Luke 12 if you want to see that confirmed.

Now it’s time to get back to the grind.  I had decided that I wasn’t going to attend Fitbloggin this year since I’m heading to New York the following week.  I’ve been feeling disconnected from the blog world this year, but after spending the weekend with Brandi, I was reminded of how much I love Fitbloggin.  I’m about 99% sure that I’ll be heading that way later this week, which means that I have a lot to accomplish before that.

When I started writing this post, it was still light outside.  Now it’s dark, which is a reminder than I need to study.  I also need to complete a research paper before Wednesday.  Yikes.

What are you doing that’s exciting this week?

Seeking Validation and Instant Gratification

We all like to feel validated, and some of us need it more than others.  I used to be among the neediest people I knew, and as I sat with Jeff and Shannon last night at Starbucks, we reflected on the changes we’ve all gone through over the last year.

Jeff got married, and Shannon met someone worthy of an exclusive relationship with her.  We’ve all taken different steps, but we’ve all grown. My relationships with God and people are significantly different than they were one year ago.

I talk about it a lot here – I know who God is.  I know what He did for me (in sending Jesus to pay the ultimate price for me and save me from myself,) and knowing that gives me peace, hope and validation that never existed before.

I still like attention, but I don’t need it anymore.  Now my biggest struggle comes from my need for instant gratification.  Whether I’m shopping or eating or dating, I find myself looking for the quickest way to achieve all of the fast, happy feelings.

My need for instant gratification has become evident over the last several years, but I never considered the possibility that it was tied to my weight gain.  It makes perfect sense, of course, and now I have to figure out how to replace the desire for immediate gratification with the contentment that I’ve experienced in other areas of my life.

I don’t know how to combat this issue yet, but I do know that there has to be a way.  I know that I should pray about it, but I haven’t yet.  I’ve become so accustomed to feeling like a failure in weight-loss, that it has become an excuse to stay this way.

I want to continue to change even though it doesn’t always feel good, and I want to learn to be content with everything that I’m already lucky enough to have.

Does anyone else struggle with the need for instant gratification?

 

 

Back To New York

It’s been quite a long time since I made a trip back to New York.  I went several times in 2012, but when I moved into my apartment later that year, I started loving my life here.  I didn’t spend much time thinking about New York, and that was an unexpected relief.

I’ve grown and healed so much since I left that place, and I am (thankfully) no longer convinced that it’s the only place in which I can be happy.  I’m happy in New Orleans.  I love the life that I’m living here, and it makes me wonder how I’ll feel when I’m back in New York.

Will I remember the intense love that I once had for the city?  Will I wish that I was staying longer, or that I didn’t have to get on a plane to return home?  Will I be as anxious to get back to New Orleans as I am when I travel to other places?

When I left New York and moved across the country, I had no idea that I would go through the things that have led me to this point in my life.  I thought I would desperately miss New York, and for a long time I did.  Now it’s a place that carries a lot of incredible memories for me, and lately I’ve wondered whether or not it will be more than that again.

People used to ask me why I loved New York, and I always explained that I just breathe differently there.  I explained that my heart was at rest there in a way, in which it hadn’t been in other places, and I wonder if I’ll feel that way again.

I think I’ve subconsciously avoided New York over the last year or more because, on some level, I’m worried that I’ll miss it when I leave, but it’s important to know where you want to be.  Right now, I’m content in New Orleans, and I’m content in worrying about the future later.  We’ll see if heading back to my favorite place changes that….

Is there a place in the world that always makes you feel at home whether you live there or not?  If so, where’s that place for you?

 

Spending Too Much Time at Starbucks

Just kidding.

I don’t think it’s possible to spend too much time at Starbucks.  Summer classes started Monday, and I’ve already completed a homework assignment!  Summer moves quickly because the sessions are short, and doing homework and completing other projects is more fun at Starbucks than it is at home because it’s far from isolated.

Kenlie at Starbucks

One of the classes that I’m taking right now required me to do a stress assessment.  I had to answer questions about my sleep patterns and do an inventory of  major life changes that I’ve experienced over the last year (ex. death of a spouse, relocation, change in social activities, etc.) I haven’t experienced many major life changes in the last year, which makes me extraordinarily thankful after the changes I experienced in years prior.

I also had to list 10 stressors, and it was difficult to do that.  I came up with several though – my current weight, relationship/lack of, aggravating people, etc.  Making that list reminded me again how thankful I am for me life, but it also helped me recognize that the things I stress about affect me in a variety of ways.  My weight affects me mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

The fact that I’m still obese…still not in control of my weight…makes me feel like a failure, but there’s a solution.  There’s always a solution, right?  For me, it starts by not making excuses.  I’m pretty good about owning up to the fact that I suck when it comes to losing weight.  Kudos to me for not blaming anyone or anything else, but taking responsibility means more than admitting that I”m wrong.

I have to do some cognitive restructuring, which simply means that I need to change the way I think.  (Easier said that done, or is it?)

I’m excited about this class because it seems like it might become one that leads to positive life changes.  I have a few close friends in this class, and they feel the way I feel about it as well.

 

Obesity and Airplanes

It’s always amazing to me when perspective alters reality. If you read my blog regularly, then you may know that I’ve experienced a lot of peace lately. Living in freedom from the burdens that weighed me down for so long makes the little things in my life much more enjoyable.

I flew home from Colorado last week, and I thought that I’d be nervous flying in coach. I had to do it because there were no non-stop, first-class flights, and paying $1200 for a flight with a connection (one of which lacked a first-class section anyway) wasn’t an option for me.

On both flights, which were on Frontier Airlines, I sat next to lovely people who seemed happy to be my seat mates. I even enjoyed a conversation with a woman from Oregon on my return flight.

I’m still obese, and I still need to change that. The day that I don’t give flying in an economy class seat a second thought will be an incredible day, but I’ve learned some things on my recent flights.

1. Most people are good.
2. Most people are busy focusing on their own lives.
3. Not everyone is judging me.

Sure, there will always be jerks who find a reason to be rude, but those people are not in the majority like I once assumed they were.

I don’t need to be afraid of flying on airplanes anymore. It’s just another lesson I’ve learned as I let go of my old mentality, which in I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Sometimes bad things happen to me on airplanes, but most of the time they don’t.

I’m going to start living with that realization instead of living in fear of what almost never happens.

Do you get nervous when you fly? If so, what makes you nervous most?