Tag Archives: Gym

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. 

 

 

 

Skin Issues, Sleep Apnea Results and Moving Forward

I haven’t exercised in over three weeks until today. My skin irritation still isn’t 100% better, but I took prescriptions for 10 days, saw the doctor again and decided that I felt well enough to get back to normal.

Unfortunately, my skin issues aren’t going away unless I leave New Orleans and/or lose a significant amount of weight. It’s hard to lose weight when it hurts to move, but the wounds are improving. I’m not leaving New Orleans any time soon, so I’m striving to make use of the gym again. (It’s pretty convenient since my office is a 20 second walk to the gym and even in the same building.) This darn skin issue has just been winning lately – until today.

Kenlie YMCA

Several of you have left comments and sent messages regarding my  skin issues, and I appreciate the advice and encouragement. I haven’t really explained what’s causing the pain because it’s gross, but I’m going to explain it now. I have cellulitis, and there are a couple of small, very painful spots that are fighting not to become infected. They’re open, and there’s no way to keep them dry. It’s just not possible, and as a result I feel pain when I lift my right leg to walk, sit in the car, stand up, lie down, etc. It’s not fun, but it’s considerably better than it was a week ago.

This week my goal is to do cardio at least three times. That doesn’t seem like much, but if you saw my skin you’d be surprised that I’m doing that. Today I did some floor exercises and played around with weights (perks of working at the YMCA,) and I felt pretty good about it.

IMG_3013I decided I’d try to do a plank too even though that’s hard for me because I knew doing it would inspire me to work harder, and it did. If you want to watch me go from cool and relaxed to sweaty and a little cocky just watch me do a plank. I can’t do it for long, but it’s something that I’m going to start working to improve again.

Riding a bicycle is out for now, and I’m still a day or two away from dance cardio. I felt pretty good about strength exercises like planks, squats and weights.

I’m not sure when I’ll feel 100% again, but it definitely felt good to fumble around in the gym today. I was reminded that I’m stronger than I remembered, and I’m also capable of doing a lot more than I’ve been doing. (Yeah, it hurts. It legitimately hurts, and I needed to take some time to heal.) It also feels good to start fresh.

I had some encouraging news today as well. I do not have sleep apnea! I’m pretty sure my doctor’s office was surprised, but I was fairly confident that I was fine because I typically sleep well. It’s a relief to know that sleep apnea isn’t something I have to worry about because I had no plans to use a CPAP machine even if they told me I’d need one. Whew!

I’ll head back to the doctor in a few weeks to check in, and as overwhelming as it is to think about spending so much time being poked and prodded over the next several months, I’m thankful that I’m getting my health in order again. I’m even more thankful that, overall, I’m okay. My health could certainly be much worse, and I realize how lucky I still have time to make positive changes.

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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.

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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…

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

Disgusted with Myself

I’ve been hating on myself pretty hard lately. I can’t stand the way that I look. I can’t believe that I let myself gain back so much of what I lost. There’s so much good in my life, but sometimes (often times) it feels overshadowed by my obesity. I’m tired of it, frustrated by it and seemingly stuck in this rut in which I feel helpless to change it.

Yesterday I tracked my food intake. I wasn’t exactly shocked to learn that I’ve been eating garbage. I knew that already. We all knew that already, but I wrote it down.

Today I started my day on the treadmill. My heart rate was elevated for 30 minutes, followed by some stretching and selfies.

Kenlie Gym

I didn’t exactly feel like smiling because as I sat there, sweaty, staring at myself in the floor to ceiling mirrors, I had to admit that I screwed up. I failed. I gained back a significant amount of weight. We’re talking 50 pounds here, and I don’t ever want to have to say that I gained back over 100.

The way I look pisses me off. I’m okay with the basic structure of my face, and I even like how it looks when I weigh 290 pounds. I’m fine with my imperfect smile, my lips, my hands and ankles; it’s everything in between that pisses me off.

I blame my excess weight for everything that I don’t have. I have friends and family who love me, many of whom would argue that I’m beautiful if they read this post, but I don’t believe it today.

I don’t need to be skinny to be happy. I know that from experience, all I need to be happy, is to feel like the best version of myself. I haven’t felt like that in a really, really long time. I’m trying to change that.

Baking, Bruises and Bouncing Back

Today is weigh-in day, but I’m out of town so I won’t officially weigh in until next week.  My scale at home told me that I was down almost two pounds, but I know that I can do more than I’m doing.  That will be my goal for the upcoming week.

My brain has been scattered this week, and I know that I need to get more sleep.  I know that my workouts will be longer and more effective if I’m not exhausted, and I won’t make mistakes like I did yesterday.  I’ve been taking the stairs to get to the roof of my tall building (where the gym is,) and my legs were feeling it yesterday.  I stepped onto the treadmill to do inclined intervals, and as I was stepping off, I twisted my ankle a little.  It’s not so bad that I can’t walk, but there’s a bruise just about my ankle bone that is screaming at me today.  I did manage to do some floor exercises too before heading back downstairs to shower and pack.

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Today will be a rest day which should be okay because I’ve planned out my meals.  I’ve been dodging cupcakes more than usual this week, but that’s over for now.  I baked over 100 red velvet cupcakes Monday for a movie themed party (that I did not attend,) and I didn’t eat them.  I didn’t even taste them, but I did receive compliments on them which made me happy.

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(Photos: Courtesy of Graceful Event Productions)

I whipped up a batch of tie dye cupcakes for game night at a friend’s house Tuesday too.  I tried those so I can tell you that they were good.  I didn’t take any with me when I left because I knew that if I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t eat them.  As long as I can stick to that plan I should be okay.

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Baking allows me to feel artistic, but it’s a complicated practice when you’re addicted to sweets.  I don’t eat them nearly as often as I talk about them, but I know that I have to be careful.  I like them too much.

I’m baking a little more often (and on a larger scale) lately, and I’ve given some serious thought to whether or not it’s something I can do.  I haven’t decided yet.  I thought about whether or not I should mention it here too.  I know that by discussing this I’ll be judged harshly by some, but I’m judged by them anyway so why not?   This blog is about my life, and it’s something that I’ve been doing lately.

I also shopped for dresses this week because I am seeing His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak Saturday, and I want to look my best.  I chose two dresses, and I’ll probably definitely post photos on Facebook and Twitter to ask which one I should wear.

It has been a good week, but it has also been long.  And it’s not over yet.  Is anyone else ready for the weekend?  What do you have planned?

 

How Would You Handle This?

When I hit the gym it often feels as though everyone around me becomes an instant expert. I can appreciate the desire that they have to help the heavy girl get fit, but sometimes I just want to be left alone to do what I showed up to do.

Some of the unsolicited “advice” I receive is absurd. Someone once told me to drink 600 oz. of water  per day.  Today someone told me to hang upside down so the blood would start pounding inside my head which would eliminate the desire to eat.  At other times they share good advice, but what makes it okay to walk up to a stranger and tell them how to fix themselves?

It seems as though people simply hang out at the gym or  lose a little (or a lot) of weight before instantly becoming a self-proclaimed expert.  And while I can appreciate the good intentions that accompany the advice most of the time, unless they’ve been in my shoes, I don’t want to hear how easy it is if I just do this or that.

Has this ever happened to you?  If so, how did you handle it?

Making Memories and Other Stuff

When I began writing this I lived in New York.  I still love New York, but I’ve been making some pretty awesome memories in New Orleans.  Living in the heart of this city has definitely opened my eyes to things that I never knew I missed before.  I love being close enough to spend the weekend at Mom’s house if I want to, and I love the festivals, parks and live music.

Friday night I spent the evening at French Quarter Fest before heading to the House of Blues, then Spirits, a dueling piano bar on Bourbon Street, with friends to hear live music.  We ate dinner, and I limited myself to two alcoholic beverages even though I definitely could have enjoyed a few more. 😉  It’s nice to live so close that I can walk to the French Quarter because it seems like there’s always something fabulous going on there.

Saturday was a busy day too.  It started with a Spring fashion show at Macy’s  and a conversation with Clinton Kelly.  I’ve loved this guy since I started watching TLC’s “What Not To Wear” almost ten years ago, and he was as kind, respectful, funny and all-around amazing as I dreamed he would be.

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I have to say thanks for my friend, Tammy, for making me aware of his visit!  I met some lovely ladies, and I was blown away by the crowd’s support and acceptance as Clinton and I discussed dressing my changing, oddly-shaped body even though I’m not a size 4.  (Have I mentioned that I love this man?!)

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After he signed my book and chatted with me, I headed to East Bank Cyclery to see my favorite bike guys.  I wanted to be sure that my bike was in good shape because I’m ready to take advantage of the bike paths on the levee.  I’m not sure how far the path will take me, but I know that I can easily work up to 20 miles which is all I’m trying to do right now.  Doesn’t my bike look ready to go outside?!?!

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Mom called while I was at the bike shop to let me know that she had arrived in New Orleans.  She stayed at my house Saturday night, but we did a little shopping and visited City park for my friend, Candi’s, birthday celebration before heading to my place.  We had a picnic after dark, and everyone had a great time.  I was excited for Mom to meet some of my friends, and she loved them as much as I do. That’s my pal, Jeff, between Mom and me.

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Thunderstorms woke me up Sunday morning so Mom and I headed to church before going to a crawfish boil with friends from school.  It feels a little odd to say that I’ve been to church two weeks in a row, but I like it.  I’d like to be there again Sunday, but I’ll be out of town.  I do plan to go back the following week though, and I’m looking forward to it.  I’m sure I’ll eat crawfish again next week too. 😉

New Orleans gets a bad rap when it comes to food because it’s all so delicious and so bad for you, but as my friend, Alyssa, pointed out, seafood is an exception.  Crawfish and shrimp is loaded with protein and very low in fat and calories.  It might not be so amazing for those who suffer from hyper-tension, but as we discussed recently, my heart is in great shape so bring on the crawfish!

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It was served in a boat which I thought was pretty awesome.  Being at the crawfish boil with Mom also gave me a chance to check out Audobon Park.  It’s across from Tulane, but I’ve only ventured in a couple of times.  It’s another great spot to ride my bike.  Can you tell I’m in the mood to put the peddles to the pavement?! 🙂

Last night I spent some much needed relaxation time with Shannon and Matt, and I’m looking forward to spending a little time with friends today before heading out of town to be with the family.  I’m looking forward to celebrating my niece’s 4th birthday, seeing Disney on Ice with her, going to high tea and having a princess themed birthday party.  I’m looking forward to spending time with the rest of my family too. 😉

My workouts were weak last week, but I’m back in the game.  I’ll be sweating my guts out at the gym before class, and I’m going to be conscious of my food choices because I want to see a loss when I’m back at my Weight Watchers meeting next week.  I’m also just craving a nice endorphin rush.

Now it’s time to watch The Voice, study for the quiz that I have to take later today.  Wish me luck!

What kind of workout will you do today?

 

 

Gym Update

After almost a week of putting off what I knew I needed to do, I went to the gym to discuss what happened by the pool.  I found several reasons not to go, but I began feeling better about it when I finally did.

It was my hope that the folks in charge would show empathy, and they didn’t let me down.  I spoke to the manager who seemed genuinely concerned.  He let me tell him everything.  He even hugged me when I cried a little.  (Who knew I’d still be so emotional about it so long after it occurred?)

He suggested that I speak to the director too so I did that last night.  And just like the manager, he was incredibly supportive.  He made it absolutely clear that he wants the people working out in his gym to feel safe and comfortable and confident, and after a conversation that lasted for almost an hour, I walked away feeling confident about my choice to continue my membership there.

I’ll see how it goes over the next few months, and if I have concerns or issues I’ll feel comfortable making them aware of them.  That’s important to me, and it felt as though it was important to them too. I know they can’t control what people say or do inside the club, but they did make it clear that I won’t have to put up with people taking pictures of me while I’m working out.  That part is most important to me .  I’ll deal with the rest, and I’ll move forward confidently.

On a side note: Someone here reached out to EFC on my behalf.  While I was surprised to hear it, I’d like to say thank you to whoever took the time to do that.  You didn’t have to, and I appreciate you.

After the gym, I did some Christmas shopping before coming home to get some things done.  I have a lot to do before I head to Colorado for Christmas.  My plan for today is to participate in a Zumba class before lunch.

What are your plans for the rest of the week?  What kind of workout will you do today?

 

More on the Gym and Some Other Stuff

I was preoccupied with some stressful things today and did not make time to go the gym to discuss the contents of my last post, but my plan is to do it tomorrow morning after a solid night of sleep.  I dread going in to resign from my membership, and I have given a lot of thought to the advice and opinions you shared yesterday.

I’ll decide what to do when I speak to someone there, but it’s important to note that it’s not the only gym in New Orleans.  It’s expensive, and I want to be a member of a gym that provides a healthy enviroment for its members.  I don’t need anyone to pat me on the back, but I won’t pay $80 a month to be bullied either.  My plan is to go in and respectfully explain that and see how the people at the gym react.

It’s still finals week too, and I have two finals tomorrow as well.  I had one Monday and one today, and I’m ready for a break.  I have a long list of things to do that don’t include school, and I’m looking forward to getting started on those tasks.

In the midst of preparing for finals I’ve also managed to have some fun with friends.  Matt, Shannon and I finished out two-day gingerbread home yesterday, and while it looks like kids did it we love it.  We made it from scratch and had a great time together doing it.

I baked cookies for one of my classes tomorrow as well, and I managed to avoid eating many of them.  I had one and a half, and I feel good about my food choices today.  My goal for tomorrow is to eat more vegetables and to drink more water.

What’s your goal for Thursday?