Tag Archives: Fitness

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. 

 

 

 

Progress Pictures and Goals

When I think about the fact that I’ve lost 70 pounds over the last few months it doesn’t feel real, then I look at myself in the mirror. It’s impossible to deny that I’m smaller, and it feels so good to have some pep in my step again.

I’ve always been aware of my size, but I’m hyper aware of it now. I’m sure that’s because it’s changing. My weight-loss feels so slow, but I’m averaging a solid 20 pounds a month (a little more actually.) That’s a lot more than I was capable of prior to surgery, and I’m finally at the point where I can honestly say that I’d go through it again if I had to.

I’m so far away from an average weight. It’s happening slower than I thought it might happen too, but I don’t care. I look and feel better than I have in years, and that’s worth more to me than arbitrary numbers.

I’m making real and significant progress, and food matters less than it used to. That’s good enough for me, though I’m definitely looking forward to continued progress.

Earlier this week Michael and I went out with friends to celebrate his 30th birthday, and I ordered a chicken taco salad.

It’s hard to go out to dinner with friends because my brain is still programmed to eat more than I can eat, but it has gotten a lot easier over the last month. When I’m at home it’s easy to just put my plate away, but it’s much more challenging when I continue sitting at the table with my food in front of me.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to discipline myself, in that, I’m not overeating. When I start to feel full I stop because I have no interest in making myself sick and/or stretching my stomach prematurely.

My friend, Stacie, took progress photos of me today, and we took a selfie as well because…why not?

 

I’m so thankful that I feel like to hardest part of the surgical process is over. I’m seeing my surgeon again next week, and I have an appointment immediately following with the dietitian. The latter seems kind of pointless because I haven’t gotten much direction from her up to this point. I’ve figured out a lot of stuff on my own, but I plan to see her anyway. If it’s not helpful, it’ll be the last time.

I saw the surgeon three weeks after my surgery, and I’ve made significant progress since then. I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say about my progress and any tips he might have to make me even more successful.

I need to exercise more…period. I’m not doing enough walking, weight lifting, etc. I know that, but for a time it was more important to me to focus on taking all of my vitamins, consuming enough protein, etc. Now that I’m comfortably doing that it’s time to reintroduce more fitness. I’d love to get back to the point in which I took for granted that I’d workout everyday.

For now, I’m pleased with my progress, but I know I can and should do more. One day at a time….

 

 

My First 5k Saints Kick-Off Run

Yesterday I briefly mentioned how uncomfortable it is to weigh as much as I do right now, and I mentioned how much easier certain things would be if I were smaller. I’m really looking forward to proving myself right about that over the next 12 months. My journey to a healthy weight will be much longer than that, but my goal is to participate in the same race I did over the weekend again next year.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30 am, and I did a little cleaning, showered and prepared for the 5k that my boyfriend, his brother and I were doing later that morning.

When Michael arrived at my place we walked to the Superdome, and I kept a pretty good pace getting there. We had walked about a mile in total before the race began, and we started in wave 19. (There were people who had finished he 5k before we even started.)

When we crossed the starting line we walked down the same street we had just walked to get to the race, then we continued into the French Quarter. I live two blocks from the Quarter, and I love to walk through it early in the morning. It was beautiful, but it was already sweltering too.

french-quarter-5kAs I made it to the halfway mark I was sweating my guts out, but my heart rate was fine. I felt good, but I soon realized that I would be the last person to finish the race.

Michael refused to run ahead of me even though he could have completed the race a few times in the amount of time it took me to finish, and at that point I was glad he was there. I knew I was going to be last, but I also knew I had to finish.

I didn’t talk, and I didn’t stop to take in the scenery. I just walked. At that moment I had to face the reality that the weight I’m carrying was weighing me down. Most of the time I don’t notice. I mean, I’m always aware of my weight, but I don’t think about it often. I walk slower and make stops more frequently, and for years I’ve oscillated between trying to lose it and just dealing with it.

It was important for me to get the medal at the end of this race. It looked cool, but the closer I got to the Superdome the more I wanted to be on the 50-yard line. I wanted the medal at the end too because it would become a daily reminder that I can do hard things, and I figured as long as the police escort was behind me I’d make it to the finish line (and get the medal.)

The second half of the race was quiet, but as I approached the Superdome I got discouraged. My body felt fine, but I had blisters. I wanted to cry as I saw droves of people walking out wearing their medals, but I never once considered not finishing.

In the last mile I told myself that we could just take an Uber home even though it wasn’t far at all. I told Michael too, and he said we could do whatever I wanted to do. He also encouraged me, of course, which made my want to cry tears of joy too.

Seriously, God gave me exactly the kind of man I dreamed of being with, and He placed him in my life at precisely the right time. These are the things that got me through the last mile of my short, yet blister-inducing race.

As we walked around the Superdome the last few hundred yards felt nearly impossible, but people cheered me along as they walked out. I stopped a few times for a few seconds, and Michael lovingly reminded me that I could do it and that I wasn’t quitting.

superdomeWhen I finally entered the Superdome the air conditioner made me feel like I had just reached
heaven. At that point I said, “Go run the last 40 yards. I need to do this by myself,” and after some convincing he ran. The jerk wasn’t even sweating. Ha

I tried to make myself rally, but I didn’t run at all. I simply walked the last 40 yards, just as I had walked the rest of the race, and when I crossed the finish line Michael was waiting there to place my medal around my neck.

That was an amazing moment for me. I felt tired, my feet hurt from the blisters, but I felt proud too. As I saw myself on the Jumbotron I heard that announcers talking about me as I finished, and there were people cheering for me as I crossed. It was a good moment, but all I could think about was how thankful I was that Jesus gave me strength to finish and that Michael never left my side except when he ran ahead to get water for me. He even held it, so I could just drink it as I needed it.

saints-kick-off-2016After I downed the Gatorade that Michael got for me I realized that he and his brother weren’t wearing medals. Apparently, there were people going up and getting multiple medals when they  finished, so his brother got one for me because he knew how much it would mean to me to receive it. Michael is awesome, and his entire family is just as wonderful. They could have gotten in line and had medals mailed to them later, but it didn’t matter to them. They just wanted me to have mine, and I got it thanks to his big bro.

If I had known how challenging this race would be for me I would have made excuses to not do it, so I’m glad I didn’t know. Michael and I walk around the same path often, but we stop to look at pretty things and often walk through the Riverwalk Outlet Mall so I can cool off.

I wore my new sneakers too, which were largely responsible for the blisters. (Rookie mistake, I guess,) but I felt tired after the 4.75 miles of walking I did, including the race. I can definitely walk that far without feeling achy or needing to stop, which makes me feel good about my body. It was also much harder than it needed to be because of the extra weight I’m carrying.

img_3808It feels so good to know that I completed the race and that I’m loved by a man who understands exactly where I am. (He used to weigh 140 pounds more than he does now.) It also felt good to know that his brother grabbed the medal because he knew how much it would mean to me.

I wouldn’t have done this race if Michael hadn’t asked me to and signed us up for it before I had a chance to say no. I’m so glad he signed me up for it, and I’m already looking forward to doing the same race next year.

I’ve wanted to do it every year since I lived here, and now I can say I did it! The medal and my blisters are both reminders that I can accomplish things even when they’re not easy, and I need that reminder right now more than ever.

saints-kick-off-run-medal

 

 

 

 

Hydro Flask, Yeti and Ozark Trails

I drink a lot of water, and I should probably drink more now that we’re in the hottest part of Summer in New Orleans. The heat slaps me when I walk outside, so I never go too far without my Hydro Flask. I love it!

Hydro FlaskIt’s pink, it holds 32 oz of water, and it keeps water cold for 24 hours. What’s not to love about it? It doesn’t fit into my car’s cup holder, but the tight lid keeps me from worrying about that. It also fits into the cup holder on the elliptical at my home gym, so I’m a big fan.

I don’t put anything in my Hydro Flask except water. I used it for iced tea once recently, and it just felt wrong. No matter what I’m eating or drinking water is still my go-to, and that’s the only thing you’ll find in this bottle.

Nearly 8 years later I still don’t drink soft drinks. I like sparkling water (plain, unflavored and extra bubbly is my favorite,) but I also drink tea and coffee. I’m obsessed with protein shakes right now too, and I love drinking them on-the-go. Of course, when I learned about the Yeti last year I wanted one, but I didn’t get one until my friend, Ann, gave me a gift last week.

Yeti TumblerI got the Yeti 30 oz Rambler on Thursday, and I love it! Later that day the order I placed for a 30 oz Ozark Trails tumbler arrived. The Yeti, which I bought at Academy, was $39.99. (Thank you, Ann!) And I love it!

The Ozark Trails 30 oz tumbler that I purchased from Walmart was $9.74. They look identical, apart from their logos. I decided to keep them both, so I gave the Ozark Trail to Michael after doing a little side-by-side test. (He wouldn’t use the Yeti anyway.) They both hold ice for hours, and they fit in out car’s cup holders.

They both do the job they claim to do, and I can’t see any reason to spend $40 on the Yeti (unless a friend gives you a gift and demands you to get the Yeti. hehe) I haven’t tried anything hot in my Yeti yet, but I doubt I will while it’s over 100 degrees everyday.

The Yeti Rambler is awesome, and the Ozark Trail tumbler seems to be equally awesome. Neither of them compare to the Hydro Flask though. It’s not even close. My water stays ice cold in the mid-afternoon heat of Summer while it stayed cool in the Yeti, but they’re made for different things.

It’s easier to carry my water bottle to the gym, but it’s easier to keep my protein shake ice cold in the steel tumbler. There’s no way I’d put a shake in my Hydro Flask.

Do you own any of these products? If so, which one is your favorite?

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.)

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.

 

My Life and Work in SHAPE Magazine

When I got to work today I learned that SHAPE Magazine posted an article about where I work, why I love it and how I see myself these days, and I’m sharing it here because it feels like a good update on my life.

kenlie-tiggman

Check it out, and share your gym stories and/or what you’re doing to promote a healthy lifestyle for yourself.

http://www.shape.com/weight-loss/success-stories/im-300-pounds-and-i-found-my-dream-job%E2%80%94-fitness

 

Plus-Size Weight Training, Cardio and TRX…and Junk Food…

I’ve wanted to sit down and blog several times over the last few weeks, but between work, travel and the other things I enjoy I haven’t made the time. I wanted my next post to be a holiday recap, but it looks like that will happen later (if it happens at all.)

Right now I want to talk about fitness. It almost feels weird to say that, even though at one point we discussed that frequently here. I’ve been journaling my food for about a month now, and I’ve started incorporating workouts into my daily routine. It seems to be working too because I didn’t gain weight over the holidays. I actually lost a couple of pounds. (I’ll do an official update here next week.)

plus size weight training

If we’re connected via social media you may know that started working at the YMCA late last year, and being there has been awesome on so many levels. I love the work I’m doing, but I also love coming out of my office and entering the gym. It’s hard not to be motivated when you’re surrounded by regular people doing extraordinary things.

Weight training is a big deal, especially for women who want to get fit. I used to do it pretty regularly, and I forgot how much I love feeling my sore muscles because I crushed it at the gym.

Last week I told my boss that I wanted to try some classes that intimidate me, so the first on the last is Body Combat. I’ll do it Thursday, but today I tried TRX. I hadn’t even attempted that since I went to IDEA in Los Angeles 5 years ago, but I’m so glad I tried it today.

it made me feel good to know that I’m not starting from square one. My body is a lot stronger than it was when I started this journey, and I am relieved because I’m finally shifting my focus away from my failures and onto my future.

TRX

There’s no way for me to make this look attractive, but I don’t care. I felt awesome when I remembered that my body could do difficult things.

I felt fierce as I got familiar with the straps and the different exercises. I still have a lot to learn, but I was able to work up a sweat. I also spent some time doing circuits with compound movements before taking a ride on the recumbent bike. I’ve always loved the ‘bent because it was the first piece of gym equipment I wasn’t afraid to try when I was new to the idea of exercise.

In addition to exercise I’m spending more time preparing meals that will have a positive impact on my body. It’s not always as convenient, but I’ve noticed that if I meal prep for two or three days at a time I can do it pretty easily.

This week I’ve eaten a lot of chicken, a few boiled eggs, veggies, quinoa, almonds and cheese, (though not all at once, of course.) Smoked almonds are ridiculously salty, but when I eat an ounce of them it seems like I’m making a better choice than a bag of chips. (I love raw almonds too, but I had the smoked ones in my cabinet.)

Today one of our trainers suggested that I join the 21 Day Junk Food Challenge, and I agreed to do it. I’ll post the details on Instagram, and I’d love to hear from you if you want to join me in the challenge. The goal is to eliminate junk food for the next few weeks, which sounds simple, right? Uh, if it were actually simple for me this blog wouldn’t exist, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

If anyone wants to join me in the challenge, leave a comment here or on Instagram, and I’ll come up with a prize pack to give away.

I left my home at 5:30 this morning, and I got home just before dark. I’m usually home later, but I’m eat tonight. I had a long and productive day, and I’m looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.

Until then….

 

 

 

 

I Weigh More Than I Should, But…

There’s actually no “but” to follow.  I still have an incredible amount of weight to lose, and every time I think about how big the numbers are I feel like throwing in the towel.  I don’t feel as energetic and awesome as I did when I weighed 50 pounds less, but I realize that I still have the same power to change that as I’ve had all along.

This week I participated in a health screening, and these are my results:

Blood Pressure: 132/70  – Yikes!  Last time I gave blood it was 118/78, which is where it typically falls.  My guess is that a lack of exercise and an incredible load of emotional stress has played a role in my higher systolic over the last two months.  I’ll be checking it frequently to see the pattern.

Oxygen Saturation Level – 98%  According to the medical staff, the acceptable range is 94% to 100% so I’m okay there.

Resting Heart Rate – 59 bpm  I’m not on any medications so I’m not sure why my heart typically beats less than average, but I’m guessing that it’s the five years of pretty consistent exercise.  I’m not a doctor, and I haven’t asked Google to explain it either so it’s just a guess.

Fasting Blood Sugar – 97 mg  The American Diabetes Association says that 70-126 is acceptable.

Total Cholesterol – 164  Less than 200 puts you at a low risk for coronary health disease.

HDL (Good Cholesterol) – 53 Less than 50 means a major risk of heart disease.  It looks like i made the cut, but not by much.  I’d like to figure out what I can do to make this number higher.

LDL (Bad Cholesterol) – 88  Less than 100 is optimal.  Whew!

TRG (Triglycerides) – 114  Less than 150 is normal.

In my limited understanding of this information, it appears that my numbers are pretty good (especially for someone who weighs as much as I do.)

I’d like to make these numbers even better, and I know that it will take time, consistency and sweat.  In addition to exercise, I’ve been eating more vegetables and fruits.  That’s something that I haven’t done consistently in ages, but I’m doing it now.  I crave the organic green juice that I mentioned in a recent post, which is awesome because I get added nutrients when I drink it without taking a big caloric hit.

When was your last health screening?  Are you happy with your numbers?  Are you doing anything in particular to improve them?