Perspective

I rushed across town to get to a private tutoring session on time, and now that I’m here, I’ve learned that the student isn’t coming. This is the frustrating side of making my own schedule. I wouldn’t have had to be here until 7 pm, and it’s hard to make parents understand the inconvenience that I experience when they don’t show up. Perhaps I need to be tougher and less friendly when it comes to business. (Yeah, I know.)

On the bright side, I get a lot of pleasure out of watching kids who are struggling in school learn that they can succeed in the classroom too. Last week one student, who was failing in Algebra and science, made A’s on her exams. She dominated a Spanish exam that we worked on too. A younger boy who struggles with reading and spelling is making A’s now.

I don’t want to be a teacher for a number of reasons, but I can’t tell you how good it feels to be a part of a child’s learning experience. Understanding how they learn makes it easier to succeed, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of watching those lightbulbs go off.

Reflecting on the positive side helps level out the negative side for me.  I’m frustrated today, but I will let it go now. I didn’t have class today, but I have an assignment due. I suppose I’ll take advantage of this time to work on that.

Starbucks New Orleans

Say hello to Zo!

Another plus to being here instead of being at home is that I usually run into friends. I’m meeting several awesome ladies here this evening as well. I’ll just order a pink iced tea and get started on my assignment.

 

 

Sugary Things

I’ve been pretty stressed out today, and while it hasn’t completely passed, I know that I’ll get through it.  I’m not turning to food to comfort me, which feels like a win. I’m sticking to my no doughnuts/macchiatos plan, but there’s still so much that I need to change. When I think of everything that I need to be doing differently, I get overwhelmed. I’m still not ready to look at the big picture, but I’m ready to add another layer to my checklist.

Saying NO to those sweet things is great, but I need to be sure that I’m not replacing them with other sweet things. I’m still at Starbucks regularly, but I’m “indulging” in unsweetened passion tea. It has no calories, and it’s pretty to look at while I work. I can have free refills too (thanks to my gold card status) so it’s a win. I don’t miss the macchiatos most of the time.

I haven’t missed the doughnuts either (probably because I reached the point of total disgust a few weeks ago,) but I have to be careful with other sweet things. Sugar is my weakness. I know that I need to make some adjustments in the way that I consume sugary junk.  I know some people who quit sugar cold turkey, but I’m not that strong. I can’t even think about how hard it would be to enjoy life without sugar at any time. I’m sure some of you are strong enough to do that. I’m not.

I met someone recently who only eats dessert on the weekend. That seems like good plan.   Refraining from sweets during the week (desserts, random offerings of chocolate covered gummy bears, etc.) would greatly impact that way that I consume sugar. I know someone else who eats well all week and allows himself to eat whatever he wants to eat on Saturdays.

I’m not ready to say that I will not eat anything sweet ever again, but I might be willing to refrain from it on the weekdays. If I can manage to do that without going crazy on the weekend, then I’ll consider that a win.

If I want sugary things during the week, I’ll have fruit. I love honey crisp apples.  I keep them stocked in the fall.  I realize that they contain sugar, but let’s be honest. I don’t have hundreds of pounds to lose because of all of the fruit I eat.

I did some walking with girlfriends over the weekend, and I was reminded how awesome and easy it is to enjoy my surroundings.

IMG_3955

I live in a beautiful neighborhood that people come to see from all over the world. I just need to start taking advantage of that more than I have been lately. I have access to a gym with a nice view as well. I’m not sure why I allowed myself to forget all of the awesome tools and experiences that are right under my nose.

Canal St. New Orleans

I’m committed to making some positive changes in the coming weeks and months, and it feels good to be making positive progress now.  I’ll face the numbers on the scale later, but for now, I think that if I limit sweet treats even more and exercise more regularly, I’ll be doing enough to see a positive shift.  I’ve already felt one of in my attitude, and that feels a lot better than what I was feeling until a few weeks ago.

Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding sweets and/or replacing them with healthier alternatives?

 

 

 

Giving Thanks and Showing Thanks

I spend a lot of time being thankful for all of the good things in my life, and as the weather gets cooler and the pumpkins start showing up everywhere, I find myself feeling even more thankful for everything in my life.

I’ve been very open about my struggles lately, and one of the best ways that I’ve found to navigate through difficult times is to be thankful for all of the positive things.

I know it’s not the holiday season yet, but I’m starting early with thankfulness this year.  I want to make a positive impact on the people around me too, so I’m getting a head start now.  Here’s a list of things that I plan to do to take the focus off of me and to affect people positively over the next few months:

  • Write a letter to someone on paper or a card, put a stamp on it and mail it.  I love sending and receiving letters and cards in the mail, and one thing that I’m thankful for is that I have friends who enjoy sending cards and thoughtful little gifts.
  • Spend time with someone who may not love this time of year.  I love the holidays, but there are people who don’t feel that way.   Sometimes the holidays remind us of people we’ve lost and/or people who won’t be here to celebrate with us.
  • Spend the afternoon (or at least a couple of hours) in a coffee shop or bookstore simply to enjoy the surroundings.  I do this a lot, but I still wish I did it more often.  I’ve met some awesome people who have amazing stories that I might never have met without taking time to look up from my computer.  (I need to do the latter more, as I am currently sitting in a coffee shop…looking at my computer. Ha.)
  • Take a moment to think about the little things that make life good.  I write a lot, and I think I enjoy it because it helps me focus in on my thoughts, as I have a tendency to think about a million things at once.  This year, instead of filling my glass pumpkin with candy, I am filling it with fall-colored notes about my reasons to be thankful. I did it last year, and now it’s definitely a thing.  One note says, “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the worship team at NOLA Church.”  Another says, “I’m thankful for my apartment, its location and the things in it.”  Some of the notes are about really big things while other are small, but when I look at the pumpkin which is stuffed full of blessings, I’m thankful for that too.

Pumpkin

  • Share something you have with a friend.  I like crafty things and baking so making something for someone just because will make everyone feel good.
  • Compliment someone everyday.  I’m pretty good at this already.  I tend to say what I think (when it’s positive) so it’s not weird for me to tell someone what I like about them.  I know that when someone takes time to compliment me, it means a lot.  I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

I’m not saying that focusing on the positive will eliminate every issue we have, but it will go a long way toward helping us get through it.  Last week in class, my professor said, “Optimism isn’t something that you have; it’s something that you do,” and I’m doing it.

 

Who Has the New iPhone 6 or 6 Plus?

I’m a slave to Apple.  I admit it.  When a new iPhone comes out, I want it.  I currently have a gold iPhone 5s, and it works beautifully.  There’s no reason for me to get a new phone. No. reason. Whatsoever. And yet, I find myself looking for reasons to justify it.

I’m pretty sure that I could trade in my phone, which means that it would cost very little, if anything, to upgrade, but do I really need to carry around a mini tablet just because it’s the latest thing?  (Yes. No. Ugh…but I want it! But do I really?)

The marketing team at Apple is brilliant because they know that people like me crave instant gratification.  They know that we’ll cave because we have to have the latest and greatest in technology, but this time, I wonder if it’s really worth the upgrade.

It seems as though all the newest iPhone has to offer is upgrades that are already available on Android devices.  I had a  Samsung Galaxy 4 at one point, and it was so big that it was overwhelming to use.  I couldn’t text with one hand because my thumb couldn’t reach the other side of the screen.  That was the thing I disliked most about my Galaxy, except that it wasn’t an iPhone.

I own a Macbook, an iPad, Apple TV and an iPhone.  If there’s an Apple version, I usually prefer it.  I like that everything works together seamlessly, and the folks at Apple count on it.

I’m not planning to upgrade right now, and that doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop wishing for the new iPhone 6.  The 6 Plus is too much.  It’s ridiculous, but the 6?  Yeah…I want that.

Are there any other Apple junkies here?  Have you already upgraded to the new iPhone?  If so, which one?  If not, do you plan to?

 

Does God Care That I’m Fat?

There’s no commandment in The Bible that says, “Thou shalt exercise daily,” but there is definitely a commandment that says to put God first. I’ve been thinking about what that means as I continue to grow in my relationship with Him, and I find myself wondering whether or not I’m committing idolatry. The answer is most definitely yes, at least sometimes, and I want to change that.

Gluttony is a sin.  Too often I find myself overindulging and putting the desire to eat above my desires for other things – including God. I’ve had to repent over this more than once or twice, and it’s still a struggle that I deal with almost everyday.

Luckily, in Romans 8:38-39, it is clear that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God loves me even though I’m plus-size. Whew! I’m even more thankful for that than I am for His grace. It still amazes me when I think about how much Jesus loves me, and with that, I believe that He wants what’s best for me.

I don’t think that doing what is “best for me” means that I need to be a size zero. I don’t even think it means that I need to be a size 8, even though that would be cool. I’m not sure what it means in terms of precise numbers, but I know that some things still need to change.

It has been almost two weeks since I had a sugary drink from Starbucks. I committed to going 30 days without indulging in an iced caramel macchiato (or anything else that isn’t plain coffee or tea,) and it hasn’t been a difficult as I thought it would be. The lack of doughnuts in my life hasn’t been as difficult as I thought either, but there’s a lot more than I need to change.

Yesterday my friend, Tracey and I, had one of those awesome conversations about life that you can only have with people you trust completely, and she suggested asking God to give me the willingness to make better choices everyday. Maybe at some point I’ll have the courage to ask Him. Right now, in all honesty, I’m scared of failing and scared of succeeding.

I don’t know how God feels in regards to what I should weigh, but I do know that what He wants is all of me. He wants everything that I am – the good and the bad. It’s easier to give Him the good stuff because letting go of the tough stuff means having to trust Him. I’m working on that, but it’s not easy…not even a little bit.

When I look at myself through the lens of God’s character, I can only conclude that He wants me to put Him first – before caramel macchiatos, before doughnuts, before money, before relationships…He wants me to be healthy.

It’s always hard to admit how weak I am, but maybe that’s exactly what I need to do. My favorite passage in The Bible is 2 Corinthians 12:9, in which Paul says, But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I guess that means that I need to embrace my weaknesses and continue to let God work in me. I know that I need to invite Him into this situation. That’s what prayer is, then I have to ask Him to give me strength to be who He wants me to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner For One?

I’ve been a bit of a homebody this week, which isn’t typical for me.  I’ve been eating at home more because I’m here, and it makes me think that I should take time to stay in more often.

I live alone, and I don’t always take time to cook for myself because it feels like so much effort to cook for one.  I enjoy cooking when I’m having company, but on the rare evenings when I’m at home, I find myself more interested in doing other things than cooking (like knitting, watching New Girl or Scandal, painting my nails, blogging, baking something to share with friends, homework, etc.)

I’m going to work on changing the way I think about cooking for myself because if it’s worth the effort to cook for someone else, it’s worth it to cook for myself.  It saves money and calories to make the extra effort, and I’ve always known that I should do it.  I

don’t think of myself as lazy because I’m almost always on the move, but it’s probably a good idea to spend more time at home preparing meals that are healthy for myself.

Am I the only one who prefers to order in or eat cereal when dining alone?

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.