Tag Archives: Exercise

Plus Size Fitness Instructor? Yep…That’s Me…

Life is filled with ups and downs, and there was a time when I blogged about them in real time. Now I spend less time online and more time thinking through situations, praying about them and venting less.

Right now, life is mostly good for Michael and me, but many people around us are hurting. Nothing good can come from sharing those hurts here, but I’m doing what I can to show support and offer love to those around me whether I know them or not.

One of the major ways I do that is through work. I do membership and marketing stuff, and I spend most of my days visiting with people who are striving to become healthier or hoping to start. I encourage kids with special needs to be creative, and I get a lot of fulfillment from loving others. I may not always do it well, but I definitely do my best.

One facet of my job is to bring in families, individuals and even corporate members. I strive to connect with everyone and to make them feel welcome. Often times it works, but once in a while there’s a perspective member who never makes it in. They’re often women who feel like they’ll be judged if they walk into the gym, and I understand that because I was one of those women for a long, long time.

I speak to plus-size women who have been shamed, as well as women who fear being shamed. I always ask them to take a chance on me. “Come in and visit with me face-to-face. You’ll feel so much better when you do.”

There’s nothing more satisfying to hear from a member than what I heard from one of my favorites recently.” She said, “Thank you for helping me see that life is worth living.” I can’t tell you how emotional I am just writing this now…knowing that somewhere in New Orleans a lady who didn’t always know her worth knows it now. (Thank you, God, for using me in that situation!)

Helping people see that who they are is okay has been my mission since I learned that who I am is okay, and I’m ready to take that to the next level now.

I recently completed group fitness certification, and I’m gearing up to teach a class that I’ve created with help from my guy.

I’m doing a demo class next week, and I hope to officially launch in mid-April. (That’ll depend on the rate of choreography and memorization that I out it, but I think it’s a realistic goal.)

My class, which will be formatted specifically for plus-size people (even though everyone is welcome) will allow me to uplift and encourage people like me who need it, and I can’t wait to start.

I’ve spent some serious time putting this together, and now I’m working through the routines – making sure I know them inside out, nailing transitions and working on cues. I haven’t spent so many hours sweating and smiling since I exercised with Richard Simmons and friends in L.A.

Richard is completely off the radar now, and I hope and pray that he doing well.

He helped me change the way I looked at myself, and he helped me understand that I could embrace fitness. It hasn’t been an easy journey for me, but I’m still here trying.

I know that Richard would encourage me to keep striving to be healthy because he did that throughout the time that I did know him. I can’t think of a better way to honor him that by encouraging someone else the way he encouraged me and countless others, and I wish he still emailed, called or tweeted me so I could tell him thank you again.

I’m pretty positive that I was made to do this, and I love it so much already. I’m excited to take this next step giant leap in my own fitness while helping others do the same. 

 

 

 

Mardi Gras, Travel, Wedding Things and Such…

It’s been a few weeks since I said anything here, and I appreciate the messages and comments asking if I’m okay. I’m okay. It’s just a busy time, and blogging hasn’t been a priority. I have to say that I still enjoy it though, so I’m happy to be spending quiet time at home today.

I’m down a little over 80 pounds, which hasn’t changed much in the last month. I’m not exercising much, but I hope that if I exercise it will break this plateau. The numbers haven’t moved in the last few weeks, but I can wear jeans that I couldn’t wear at the beginning of the year. Two pairs of jeans that have been too tight since 2013 now fit again. One is even so big that people keep suggesting that I buy smaller pants.

The picture on the left is from about five months ago when I finished dead last at the New Orleans Saints 5k, and the picture on the right is from a few weeks ago. I’m obviously still big, but I feel so much smaller and lighter on my feet than I did that day. I’m incredibly proud of my progress, but I’m still striving to change what’s in my heart and head. My life’s purpose is not to lose weight; it’s to love people.

I’m doing an in-depth study of the book, “Made to Crave,” by Lisa TerKeurst, which unpacks the reality that God made us to crave Him, not food. People here have suggested that I read it in the past. Is anyone else reading it now? Has anyone read it?

It’s incredible how much my life has completely changed in the last several years, and I’m seriously ready for God to change this part of me too. The number on the scale is important, in that, I need to live at a healthy weight, but none of that will really change for good I don’t invite God in to really change the way I feel about food.

 

Speaking change…my wedding is only a few months away, and everything is going well so far. People keep asking if I’m stressed, but it hasn’t been stressful at all since I wrapped my head around the fact that I get to spend my life with Michael.

The venue, the food for the reception and the registries are complete. We’ve secured a block of hotel rooms, and the invitations are sitting in my kitchen waiting to be addressed. It’s still a bit early for that, I suppose, but I’m ready to do this. My soon-to-be sister-in-law is an event planner for one of the most popular venues in New Orleans, and she has been a tremendous help! I’m thankful for my future family of chefs too because they’ve made the process of choosing foods so easy for me.

I’ve always joked about want to register everywhere if and when I actually got married, and it was, indeed, as much fun as I thought it would be! It was most fun at Bed Bath and Beyond because they made a big deal about it, and I got to use the scanner gun thing. Target was cool too because I could scan things with my phone. There’s no way I’ll get everything that I scanned, but it’s okay. It was one of my favorite parts of wedding preparations so far.

Last week I came home to a gift from my Amazon registry, and I want to thank Connie for the beautiful salt and pepper shakers. I’ve loved them for years, and I was so touched to receive such a sweet surprise from someone from my blog. Thank you so much, Connie! It really made my day! I’m already using them, and Michael gets to use them too when I cook for him too.

Have I mentioned that I cannot wait until we live in the same place? It’s going to be an adjustment, but I’m looking forward to when I can go to sleep and wake up with him everyday. Is it June yet??

My plan (after blogging) today is to finish up our little wedding website. I enjoy quiet weekends from time to time, and I carved out some time to relax at home this weekend because it’s crazy in my neighborhood due to Mardi Gras and the NBA All-Star game. (Seriously, it took 45 minutes to get from my exit to my parking garage, and it usually only takes 3 to 5 minutes.) Next week I’ll be in San Francisco skipping out on the revelry, and I’ll be back when Carnival Season is over.

I’m looking forward to heading back to California because it’s been several years since I was last there, and any time that I get to spend with Leslie is awesome. She’s one of my closest friends, and I never would have met her if I hadn’t started this blog. Isn’t the internet cool like that?

Now Leslie is like family. I’m excited to meet up with her in San Francisco, and I’m excited that she’ll fulfill such an important role in my wedding this summer.

Life is good right now. It’s not always easy or perfect, but I have so much peace. I’m joyful and hopeful about what’s God has done and is doing in my life. I’m in awe, and I’m thankful.

 

 

 

Chains Are Breaking

In my last post I briefly mentioned that I don’t feel so chained to my plate anymore, and I want to take a little time to explain what I mean.

chick-fil-a-nuggetsMy love for food makes it easy forget how much smaller my stomach is now. For instance, when I went to Chick-fil-a in the past I typically skipped the fries and drink and opted for the original chicken sandwich and an order of 8 chicken nuggets. It was easily justified in my mind because it was still less calories than fries and a drink.

Now, if I actually go to Chick-fil-a, I can eat 3 to 4 little nuggets, and that’s enough to keep me satisfied for at least a few hours. They’re protein-packed too, which is cool.

Last week I attended Shiftcon, and throughout the conference we were provided with healthy, shiftconbalanced meals. My stomach is smaller, but I still wanted to enjoy the food. I got the smallest portions I could, but I still found my plates to be far too full. That happens a lot, but now instead of torturing myself by trying to eat more than I should I just let it go.

The plate of food on the right looked delicious, and it was. I ate most of the chicken wing, a few bites of the fish and a few bites of the cabbage slaw. (I love cabbage!) I shared the rest of my food and let them take what I couldn’t eat.

I don’t like wasting food, nor does my leftovers loving boyfriend. I’m just learning that it’s better to eat it later, or let it go. My old, overeating normal wasn’t making me strong and healthy. It was making me gain weight and feel lethargic, but my new normal allows me to let it go.

shiftcon-2016I’ve lost 55 pounds in the last 10.5 weeks, and I’m feeling good about that. I eat more protein than anything else. I’m not avoiding any particular type of food, but am I learning that some foods just aren’t worth eating. For instance, I like bread and pasta, but right now it’s not worth my time to eat more than a bite of it (literally, one bite!) I ate a beignet from Cafe Dumonde with a good friend who was here over the weekend, but I learned that I’d rather have the coffee right now. And that’s okay with me.

I’m learning that I can eat whatever I want, just not at one time. Most of the time I’m content with a high-protein shake in the morning, chicken or pork in the afternoon or evening and a bite or two of other things (based on what’s available.)

I can’t express how good it feels to recognize the chains that are breaking in my life right now. I’ve been addicted to feeling overly full for so long that I didn’t realize how awesome it could feel to be satisfied, yet light on my feet.

I am starting to look at food now without feeling a need to eat all of it (whatever it is,) and that feels even better than dropping the 55 pounds I’ve shed so far.

I’m striving to be more active, and I’m seeing improvements there too. Instead of taking an Uber over the weekend I walked to the hotel for the conference. I also walked to a neighboring gym to bring cookies to a friend who was working there. I wouldn’t have done that six months ago. Actually, I wouldn’t have done that a month ago.

I feel less lethargic and more content than I’ve felt in years. I know that it’s a long, long road, but I’m finally happy/thankful/pleased to be on this path.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Favorite Brand for Sneakers?

I’m doing my first official 5k race in a few weeks. I’ve walked many 5k’s, but I’ve never received a medal at the end of it. I don’t mind walking, but the idea of paying money to wake up early on the weekend to exercise in the heat has never really appealed to me. Ha

When my boyfriend asked me to do it I said yes without hesitation. I’ve always dreamed of being with a kind, loving man who will show up for races with me, and now I have that. My guess is that he’ll run the race, then wait for me at the finish line. I don’t want to slow him down, but I’ll be happy to see him waiting for me when I finish.

I’ve wanted to do this race every year since moving to New Orleans. Most of the cool races happen in my neighborhood, so it’s convenient, but this one is always appealing because it ends on the 50-yard line inside the Superdome.

I’ve been to Saints games, of course, but there’s something about jogging through the tunnels and onto the finish line, where I’ll receive a metal, that excites me. (What can I say? I have a flair for the dramatic.)

I’m looking forward to walking the race even though it’s going to take me over an hour to finish it. The timing doesn’t matter to me. I just love any opportunity to remind myself that I can do cool things.

I’ve been walking a lot over the last week or so. (Thank you, Pokemon Go!) And I realized even before walking all over town chasing Pokemons that I need new sneakers…badly.

Over the last few years I’ve moved away from Nike to New Balance, Asics, then Brooks. I loved the Asics so much that I wore a hole in one. I’m not particularly fond of New Balance, but the Brooks weren’t bad. I’m just not sure which brand I’ll choose now.

Do you have a favorite, go-to brand for sneakers? If so, which one?

 

Motivation Monday

Monday was my least favorite day of the week until last month when my gentleman friend started exercising with me after work. Mondays are kind of long, but they’re much more enjoyable now that I’m in a healthy routine.

The guy and I workout at different gyms, but he lives close enough to me that it’s easy to join me for a workout at the gym upstairs. I want to start jumping in the pool after our workouts, but we’re usually ready to eat dinner by the time we’re done.

We eat together a few times a week, and the majority of meals are at my place because I love to cook. He’ll eat anything I serve too, which makes it easy to want to feed him. Ha…

I’m working toward some pretty specific fitness goals that I”ll discuss here more in July or August, and it’s amazing to have his support, in addition to the encouragement I receive from my family, friends and co-workers.

I’m in a healthy place right now, and I want to continue improving in this area. I feel incredible after a sweaty workout, and sweaty selfies are still my favorite. (I suppose I should take some more of them.)

YMCA New Orleans

Gaining control of my weight is so hard, but I constantly remind myself that I can do all things through Christ. Seriously, I can’t even express how much my life has changed since I realized that God loves me and desires a healthy and abundant life for me.

It’s a long road, and I suppose it won’t end until life does. I’m okay with that now. The resentment I felt for far too long has been replaced by resilience. I know that I need to stay humble and accountable, and I am thankful for the loving people in my life who understand and empathize with that.

I have more energy than I did a month ago, and I’m looking forward to seeing more improvement in that area as I increase my level of activity.

Now it’s a new day, and it’s time to hit the ground running…(err, walking briskly…You know what I mean.)

Week 2 with Weight Watchers

Today was the beginning of Week 2 for me, and it was the first meeting I’ve been to in ages. I’m happy to say that I’m down 5 pounds for the week, and I’m looking forward to losing more in the coming week. The meeting itself wasn’t earth-shattering, but the people were nice. weight watchersThey were discussing food finds that I learned about during my first jaunt with Weight Watchers in 2010. Seriously, they were talking about the same brands and products. They also discussed  fat-free dressings made by Bolthouse Farms that I wouldn’t dream of eating because it’s simply not food, but I didn’t mind these discussions. It was all so familiar, but I liked that. Unfortunately, the awesome lady who led the meeting was just filling in for the leader who was out of town. I am familiar with the other leader, and she’s been with Weight Watchers for 31 years. She knows her stuff, and she has a reputation for being tough. Maybe that’s what I’ll need. I’m just hoping I like this meeting even though there was no one my age there.

 

leafy greens with strawberries

This spring mix with strawberries, walnuts and more is one of my old favorites.

I joined just in time to participate in a 12-week Try-A-Thon, which is comprised of weekly goals to try something new. In my old New York meetings I had a reputation for loving Bravo stickers, and it’s still true. I was reminded of that today when I started thinking about trying new workouts and foods.

Last week I tried water aerobics, which was fun. It’s not a very intense workout, but it’s really enjoyable. I’ve also made an effort to create more interesting salads. I’ve made a few without lettuce, which is fun. I’m also trying to recreate some of my old favorites.

I still love everything I make from SkinnyTaste, and right now following recipes are in my regular rotation.

Spiraled Summer Roll Bowls with Hoisin Peanut Sauce

Spicy California Shrimp Stacks

My goal for the coming week is to eat more leafy greens and vegetables, in general. I also want to exercise at least 3 times, though 4 would be even better. I’m also committed to tracking everything I eat.

Kenlie

I felt pressure lift when I stepped on the scale today. It sucks to face the fact that I’ve gained so much back, but I am also relieved that I’m dealing with it now before gaining every single pound back.

I feel hopeful and encouraged, which seems like a good place to be.

My JumpSport Fitness Trampoline Makes It Easy

I’ve been doing a variety of workouts over the last few months, and I’m finally feeling some positive momentum. I’ve talked about exercise lately, but I I haven’t mentioned how much I love my new JumpSport Fitness Trampoline.

I’ve had it since late April, but I didn’t really start using it until about a month ago. I didn’t make a lot of time for exercise of any kind when Mom was in the hospital, but I’ve had some fun jumping on it since then.

I’ve wanted a JumpSport trampoline for about 5 years since I first discovered them at Fitbloggin, but I have always been so nervous on them that it never seemed like a good idea. Last year, in Denver, I jumped my heart out for a few minutes and realized that my heart rate was elevated – just from bouncing on the trampoline! I figured I could benefit from owning a trampoline because I didn’t have to leave home to get my heart rate going, so when JumpSport offered to send me a fitness trampoline, I was pretty excited to try it.

JumpSport Fitness Trampoline

I don’t have a lot of space in my apartment. I only have one bedroom, so when I’m not using it I leave it behind the door. It’s completely out of the way, and it takes about 5 seconds to move it into place.

My fear of breaking it (even though it’s built to support my weight) made it difficult to enjoy first, but I’ve been using it enough now to trust that it’s not going anywhere. I typically jump pretty close to the wall just in case I lost my balance, which hasn’t actually happened. It comes with a handle bar as well, but I don’t have enough room to use it because I couldn’t stand it up if it were attached. Seriously, when I have a bigger home I’ll definitely attach the bar.

JumpSport Fitness

I knew when I received it that it would help me burn calories, but I didn’t realize that I’d feel lighter as soon as I started jumping. It’s hard to explain, but after about one minute I feel as though I’m floating. The trepidation I feel initially is replaced by a liberating feeling. It almost feels like I’m flying, and that makes me feel as light as a feather. It came with an exercise DVD as well, but I haven’t used it yet. So far, I’ve only been brave enough to jump and do a few planks. Those are killer!

I’m looking forward to watching my nieces jump on it when they visit next week, and I’m curious to see how I’ll feel about it a few months and several pounds down from now.

Overall, I love it because it takes very little effort to get my heart rate going, and I can do it for a few minutes at a time several times a day. I think I’ll love it even more as I continue to reduce my weight because I don’t like being at the top of the weight limit. While I haven’t experienced any problems with it, I think I’ll feel more secure 25 pounds from now. The only down side is that I wish I had a bigger living space. My apartment is cozy and comfortable, but when I have an extra room the trampoline will be more prominently displayed for even easier access.

Have you ever tried a fitness trampoline? Do you own a JumpSport trampoline? Would you like a chance to win one here on my little blog?

 

 

 

When People Ask Why Someone My Size Works In A Gym

Almost everyone I’ve met at work has been amazing since I started late last year. I haven’t run across a single person who thinks it’s acceptable to criticize my weight or my exercise routines, which is rare and awesome. I know that sometimes people look at me wonder what I’m doing there, but no one asked until today.

Actually, the curious person didn’t ask me. I would have been happy to answer, but they asked one of our group fitness instructors who thought it would be fine to mention it to me. It is fine, and I think it’s important to answer questions like this instead of pretending I look/think/act like everyone else.

I weigh over 300 pounds, and I work at a fitness facility for a few reasons that you can read in a list below:

  • I love working with people, and my position in sales and marketing allows me to get paid for talking to people all day. I love going into work and seeing people who are happy, and I’m also thankful for the opportunity that I often have to put a smile on someone else’s face.
  • I have access to a state of the art facility that I don’t even have to leave work to use.
  • I have the unique opportunity to make people comfortable with exercise. If you’ve never been over 400 pounds, then good for you. You definitely do not understand how hard it is to walk into the gym for the first time. I meet so many well-intentioned people who think they understand because they had to lose 30,40 or 50 pounds. You don’t understand, but that’s okay. That’s why I’m here, and I get to help people like me recognize their worth. That’s an honor.
  • I get to be surrounded by friends everyday. My boss is a close friend now, and I have some other great friends at work as well. It’s so awesome to be surrounded by strong, encouraging people.

The list could be much longer because there are lots of little things that make me love what I’m doing, but the shortest answer is that I love working at the Y because it’s for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned gym fanatic or if you’re walking in for the first time; when you walk in you’re going to be treated like someone who matters because you do.

My goal over the last several years has been to change the way I receive myself and to recognize my value regardless of my size. I’ve been pretty successful in that, and now I’m in a position to make my health a priority again with a positive perspective. I’m so thankful for that, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help others recognize their worth as well.

 

Monday, Monday…

Today was the first awesome Monday I’ve had in a while. I woke up feeling rested, felt good about my outfit (blue sundress, white cardigan and coordinating scarf,) and every person I encountered at work had something positive to say. I even had a special and unique surprise when a lovely woman and blog follower I met years ago through Weight Watchers came in to see me. She joined the gym today, and I’m sincerely looking forward to seeing her progress as she gets into a healthy routine. The a/c is finally working again in my office too.

I’m so thankful for these things, which may seem small, because the last few Mondays have been less than stellar.

skinny taste shrimp

Please excuse the paper plates. Ha..

Michael came over to exercise with me tonight as well, and I prepared a healthy, protein-packed dinner for us to enjoy after that. In my last post I mentioned that he’s lost over 100 pounds, and I love that he understands my journey. I don’t have to explain anything to him because he already knows, and being at the gym with him makes me look forward to cardio. (He doesn’t read my blog, but if he did he’d get a shout out right now for being awesome…and handsome.) We didn’t  talk during our workout because I prefer the elliptical (and headphones) while he prefers the treadmill. It was just nice to have him there with me. It was also nice to see that my favorite water bottle fits in the cup holder. Sometimes it’s the little things…

Hydro Flask

Now it’s nearly midnight, which means it’s time for me to get some sleep. I ate pretty well today, and my goal for tomorrow is to plan out a menu for the next few days. I can’t buy groceries if I don’t have a meal plan. But first, sleep…

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, Let’s Talk About Richard Simmons

It’s been quiet around here lately, but I don’t think I can stay quiet about Richard Simmons any longer. I had mixed feelings about discussing him here, so I just didn’t. Thinking of him makes my heart swell with sadness, but after the media reports that surfaced last week I think it’s time speak up.

Richard went into hiding, or something two years ago, and I miss the man I’ve adored most of my life. Even as a kid, before I thought of myself as overweight/plus-sized, I admired him because of his love for people. And many years later, when I wrote him an open letter on my blog, his response was prompt and overwhelming. I never thought that the larger-than-life fitness icon would care that I wrote him a letter, so I was blown away when I received the first of many emails only a few days later.

At the time I was at the top of my weight-loss game, but everything slowly began to crumble when the pesky airline made me feel like I was as worthless as they thought I was. Regardless, I got on a plane and flew to Los Angeles to take a class with him at Slimmons, and those workouts were among the coolest things I’ve ever experienced in my life. (It was so cool, in fact, that I thought it was a good idea to move to Beverly Hills just to be close enough to exercise with him regularly, so I did.)

Richard Simmons

Richard made me feel like anything was possible, but even more importantly, he made me feel like I was lovable just like I was. (I hadn’t discovered that yet.)

Richard Simmons and Kenlie at Slimmons

When he went into seclusion he stopped emailing people he communicated with regularly (myself included.) At first, I wondered if I had unknowingly offended him. I wondered if he had given up on me since I was struggling with my weight again, but several months later I learned that it wasn’t me at all.

There was a sign at his studio saying that he’d be back next month, which became the next month and the next month…I soon learned that he stopped responding to my friends like KeepItUpDavid, who were in constant contact with him as well, and months later no one had heard anything from him.

Richard SImmons and KeepItUpDavid and Kenlie

TMZ reached out to my at one point last year, but I refused to talk. The Today Show used footage from when I worked out at Slimmons for the first time to tell viewers that Richard had resurfaced, but that wasn’t true either.

Richard Simmons Kenlie Today Show

There’s been radio silence from Richard until last week when he called in for an interview with Today. It was such a relief to hear his voice that I shed tears for a moment at my desk. At the same time I was sad to hear his quiet, almost calculated words. He sounded sad, which made me sad.

I don’t know what he’s going through. (I have some theories, but I won’t be elaborating on them.) He has the right to live his life privately if that’s what he wants to do.  I just want him to be happy, and I hope he knows that no matter what, I love him, I’m praying for him, I miss him, and I hope I see his face again someday.