Unexpected Things

Last week I represented PlusInc at an airline conference in Washington, D.C., and it was an honor to speak to airline executives, on behalf of plus-size people.  You can read all about it here.

For years I’ve had a love-hate relationship with our nation’s capital, but this time I fell in love with it.  Looking back it seems as though every time I tried to enjoy the day as a tourist in D.C., something would either go wrong or distract me from my plans, but this trip was different.

This time I didn’t break any bones and spend the day in the emergency room, nor did I spend all day and night swooning over a man who never fails to make me feel sexy and awesome. (I might have done that if he hadn’t been out of town on business in Chicago.)  I spoke at the conference, went out with a cool guy who treated me to one of the best burgers in D.C., spent time with Brandon (who is one of my favorite people on the entire planet,) went to dinner with an awesome and inspirational friend and visited with executives who were interested in hearing what they could do to make air travel better for people of size.

Westin City Center DC

When the conference was over and Brandon left, I decided to take a walk down to the White House.  I hadn’t been there in about two years, and there’s something magical about being at the home of the most powerful person in the free world.  I nerd out for it every time.

The White House was about a mile from my hotel, and it was about another mile to the Lincoln Memorial (which is easily my favorite spot in the city.)  I stopped in front of the White House to take a photo, of course, and a few minutes later I stopped by the Washington Monument to post it on Facebook.

Kenlie White House

When I opened the app, I saw a message from someone who used to mean the world to me.  She was a close friend when I lived in New York, and our relationship suffered because I couldn’t be honest with her.  I’ve talked about this many times on my blog.  She doesn’t have a blog, nor are we connected online.  She just sent a message that said, “Hey, are you in front of the White House?”

She was there visiting from New York with her husband and saw me, but I didn’t see or hear her because I was wearing headphones and listening to Maroon 5’s latest album (which is awesome, by the way.)  I walked back up Constitution, and I can’t tell you how amazing it was to hug her.  I apologized for being a piece of crap, and we walked to the Lincoln Memorial together.  In some ways, it felt like ages since I last saw her (almost 4 years ago,) and in some ways it felt like yesterday.

I don’t know if we’ll ever be friends again, but it was so good to spend time with her.  It felt as though something in my heart was mended that day, and it felt good to say ‘I’m sorry’ in person.

My trip, which included stops in Boston and New York as well, was one of the best I’ve experienced in recent memory.  I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to cultivate change and to be surrounded by close friends and inspirational game-changers. Now I’m back in New Orleans, and I’m looking forward to fall and all of the good things that come with it.

Regaining Weight and Regaining Control

Earlier this week I wrote a post about the anger that I was feeling, but I wasn’t ready to discuss how to change it.  Here’s an excerpt from what I said:

What can I say? I know that I should skip the venti iced nonfat caramel macchiato at Starbucks.  I also know that I should start my day with a workout instead of sleeping in for an extra half hour.  I know that I should swap out the food that I eat at restaurants for salads that I eat at home, and I know that I should drive by Krispy Kreme without stopping…ever. (Seriously, who needs a doughnut from Krispy Kreme?  They’re grossly overrated.)

Feeling angry sucks, and feeling angry and helpless sucks even more.  Verbally abusing myself won’t change anything either.  I understand that it works for some people, but I love myself too much to do it (at least most of the time.) Losing weight isn’t easy, but it’s possible.  How many times have I said that over the years?  Maybe it’s hard.  It’s obviously harder for me than I like to admit, but there are some simple concepts that would lead to big results if I’d simply do them:

  • Skip the calorie-laden drinks at Starbucks.  This seems like common sense, and it is.  I decided that I’d allow myself to drink them from time to time, which then became pretty frequent.  It’s fine to have a coffee or tea with no sugar and a splash of milk, but the 270 calories and load of sugar (even with the 16 grams if protein) just isn’t a good idea.  I don’t drink sodas. Why in the world would I drink sugary milk?
  • Exercise on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a weekend day.  This is easy enough, and yet, I’ve gotten so incredibly lazy.  I don’t sit at home and watch TV or all day or anything, but I tend to leave my house shortly after noon (without eating lunch.)  I work as a private tutor during the week, and I go to class as well.  I lead a small group on Wednesday evenings and go to band practice on Thursday evenings.  I’m not lazy in a traditional sense, but I’m not making an effort to sweat before I leave home.  (Did I mention the cute, little gym upstairs at my building? I’m embarrassed to admit how long it’s been since I exercised in it.)
  • Prepare healthy foods that I can take with me on the go. I used to do this. It requires some extra effort, but I used to believe that Sunday nights existed for food prep.  At some point (a long time ago) that changed.  It needs to change again because a little effort goes a long way, and little changes like that go a long way.
  • Say NO to Krispy Kreme.  I know so many people who think that their doughnuts are sub-par, and they are.  I know it, but when I drive by, I want them.  I don’t always get them, but I get them more often than I should.  I used to love cokes.  I would drink them everyday.  I was a slave to them, and one day I stopped drinking them.  Now, years later, I think they’re so ridiculously disgusting.  Perhaps it’s time to have a similar experience with doughnuts.

If you talk to someone who has lost a significant amount of weight, if they’re being honest, they’ll probably tell you that it’s hard to get everything right all the time.  (I know this is true because I hear it often.)  I’m not sure if it gets easier or when, which means that I’m focusing on a couple of minor changes that will lead to better results.  Right now regaining control is my biggest concern, and I’m making a couple of minor adjustments to do just that.

My focus this month has surrounded Starbucks because I’m there frequently.  Exercising before Starbucks is better than not exercising, but skipping sugary coffee drinks is obviously better that that.  I’d like to see some changes in myself, and I’m giving up the macchiatos for the next month.  At that point, I’ll decide if I want to have one before limiting them again, but my guess is that I’ll be over them.  I don’t drink coffee everyday, but I like the environment.  My goal is to have unsweet tea or unsweet tea when I’m there.   I drink a lot of water there too because one of my favorite barista pals always reminds me to hydrate.

I’m also banning Krispy Kreme from my life for the next 30 days.  Am I the only one who feels like short-term goals are more manageable?  I’ve proven that making number goals without adjusting my habits doesn’t work.  Maybe now I can prove that creating goals in the form of new habits will, in fact, allow the number goals to work themselves out.

I’m much happier and much more relieved than I was when I wrote the previous post, but I’m still not happy with the fact that I let myself spin out of

I’m in Washington, D.C. right now, and I’m sticking to the Starbucks rule too.  I still can’t say that I’m in control, but I’m working on it again, which is more than I could say at the beginning of the week.

 

*$#% People

I’ve been in a pretty dark place since Thursday, and I’m still fighting to find my way out of it today.  I’m genuinely upbeat most of the time, and when I’m not, I don’t really know how to handle it.  It’s hard to say that I’m depressed because I’m content, even happy, most days, but right now I’m facing feelings of anger.  My favorite phrase right now is “*$%# people.”

Have you ever heard that saying, “If everyone around you is being an a-hole, you’re probably the a-hole?”  I get it.  I know that the anger that I feel right now is directed toward myself more than anyone else.  Sure, people suck sometimes, which doesn’t help me feel better.  I just need to find a way out of this slump, and I need to do it soon.

I’m angry with myself because I’m so obese.  I’m pissed because I’m out of control, which is no one’s fault except mine.  I feel like I’ve officially thrown in the towel. (Score one for the pathetic pieces of garbage who come here to hate me. You don’t think I’m as pathetic as I think I am right now.)

It’s hard to admit that I’m angry and lonely (because who else understands what it’s like to be so obese, then to lose an impressive amount, then to regain a significant piece of it, then to feel like I’m even more pathetic than I was when I started because I can’t get it right even with all of the amazing blessings in my life?) It’s hard to admit that I’m letting it affect me in other areas too.  It’s hard to admit that I feel so much resentment because I’m worthless in the eyes of society.  It’s also hard to admit that even though I know that God loves me, I wish I could feel desired by someone.

What can I say? I know that I should skip the venti iced nonfat caramel macchiato at Starbucks.  I also know that I should start my day with a workout instead of sleeping in for an extra half hour.  I know that I should swap out the food that I eat at restaurants for salads that I eat at home, and I know that I should drive by Krispy Kreme without stopping…ever. (Seriously, who needs a doughnut from Krispy Kreme?  They’re grossly overrated.)

I know what I should do, and instead of doing it, I spend my time feeling like crap for not doing it.  I donate a lot of time to intentionally helping others every week, which normally makes me feel good.  When did I officially decide to stop helping myself?

I’m pissed.  I take responsibility for being pissed.  I know that I’m supposed to tell you that I have the power to change it, but the truth is that I feel powerless. (Score another one for the aforementioned pieces of garbage who come here to hate me.)

The last few days have been rough.  I wish that I was wrapping up this post with some kind of empowering, affirming message that confirms that the hard parts in the past, but I don’t.  It’s Monday, and I’m unhappy.  I can only hope that admitting this today will make tomorrow a little bit better.

 

 

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.

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.

 

I’m Worn Out, But…

The last few weeks have felt incredibly busy and productive and slow moving all at the same time.  I made a big decision that I’m at peace with now, but I stressed over what was right for a few weeks first.  I also just took my last Summer exam, which means that I have two weeks to decompress from school before it starts again.  I don’t always whine about needing a break from school, but right now, I’m happy to have one.

I’ve gotten a lot accomplished, but I’m tired.  Last night I could sleep.  I usually snooze only a moment or two after my head hits the pillow, but I knew that I needed to be up at 4:45  am.  I’m not sure why it’s so hard to sleep when I know that I am starting my day early, but my mind just wouldn’t slow down last night.  At least I can say that as a result, I know that I aced my final exam.  I scored a 99% on my midterm for the same class, and I’m guessing that my final exam will be similarly scored.

I haven’t spent much time online, which seems to be a theme in my life these days.  I mean, I still post occasional photos of my iced, nonfat caramel macchiatos from Starbucks on Instagram from time to time, but I seem to consistently lack a need to connect here in the way that I used to. (I’ve been saying that a lot lately…at least when I’m here. Ha)

I’m weighing in at Mom’s house once a week, and it’s so refreshing to see the numbers on the scale inching down.  I’m not in the mood to be judged by the numbers here, but they’re moving in the right direction for the first time in quite some time.  I started tracking my food intake when I left Fitbloggin after visiting with friends who understand my weight issues, and I’m trying to make good choices one day at a time.

It’s funny.  Even at my lowest weight, which was 284 pounds, I was still obese.  I was just less obese than now, and it felt so much better (physically) than this.  I was more confident – not so much due to my size – but rather because I was in control.  I want the feelings of self-control to become second  nature again so I’m working on it.

The last few weeks have been tough, but I feel like I can finally relax again.  I’m worn out, but I’m happy.  I’m also keenly aware and thankful for everything that makes my life awesome.

 

Just Checking In

It’s finally Friday!  My week has been extraordinarly busy, and I got a lot more accomplished.  That said, the week has been dragging, and I’m so happy that the weekend is almost here.  I’m also thankful for the time that I got to spend with some awesome ladies last night.

Starbucks.jpg

After considering whether or not I wanted to purse a teaching certificate, I realized that it’s nor necessary for me.  I’d really prefer to teach at the collegiate level, which means that I can get a Master’s in Communications and work a second job as an adjunct professor.  At that point, I can decide whether or not to pursue a Ph. D.  (How cool would it be to call me Dr. Kenlie? Ha.)

I took another giant life step forward this week.  I’m not ready to discuss it online, but I’m feeling confident about my future, secure in my faith in God and ready to see what else He has planned for me.

As I continue to evolve, I find myself changing the way that I do things online.  There are certain things that I just don’t plan to seek approval for anymore, which means that I don’t have much to say today.

Throughout the last week, I’ve continued to be more mindful about what I eat, but I still need to find my way back into a healthy cardio groove.

Finals are coming up this week, and I’m ready for class to be over.  I love school, but I do not love every class.  I’m learning, but I’m worn and looking forward to the two week break after my last final exam on Wednesday.

Have I mentioned how thankful I am for the work that God is doing in my life right now?  I don’t wish to elaborate, at least for now, but I’m in a very good place and grateful for it.

Does anyone else feel like this week was long and busy?

 

When I Grow Up

I’m officially 34 years old now, and as I look back at the last year, I feel pretty awesome about what lies ahead.

I talk about school a lot, but I rarely get specific. I’m studying public relations and marketing, but I’ve also inadvertently used my electives to study health sciences.

I guess it’s weird to be a student at my age, but I like it. In fact, I love being in the classroom, and recently I joked that if I could get paid to go to school, I’d do it forever. Then a light bulb went off in my mind. I could be a teacher.

I’ve always joked that I like money too much to teach, but under the right circumstances, it could be awesome! It would give me the opportunity to help others learn, and it would also create a level of stability in my career that I haven’t experienced up to this point. It would also allow me to spend time traveling, which is something that I enjoy. (I’m writing this post from a plane too.)

Living in New Orleans has been a better experience than I ever imagined, but I can see myself moving on at some point. Why not get a teaching certificate first?

I love learning, and there’s something so awesome about seeing a child who didn’t think he could do it realize that he could. (I experienced that earlier this year, and I’d like to again.)

I realize that it takes a certain kind of person to teach, but I think it’s something that I’d be good at. My mom was a teacher, and my sister is a teacher now. Maybe it runs in my blood?

If I go into teaching, I’ll still be involved in other things, but I think that’s okay. I realize that it’s an important decision to make before I commit to getting certified, but I have a few months to think about it. I’ve just been thinking about it a lot recently, and it seems like a great idea.

Are there any teachers reading this? If so, what made you decide to become an educator? What do you love about it? What do you wish you could change?