Tag Archives: Health

It’s Mom’s Birthday

I’ve never been so excited to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Earlier this year, when she had two strokes, I was faced with the reality that I could lose her. I know that’s how life works, but I am so thankful that it didn’t happen that way.

mom-and-meMy mom is my favorite person on the planet, and I’ve never once questioned her love for me…ever.

Perhaps I’m more emotional right now than normal, but I’m fully aware that I’m lucky to have her here. I’m thankful that she’s taking steps to improve her health too.

She’s walking at the gym, eating more fruits and veggies and she’s even drinking Tera’s Whey protein shakes once a day.

I love her, and I’m so thankful that she’s here. I’m thankful that her singing voice is making its return, and I am looking forward to doing some fun things with her over the next few months. (We’ll start by seeing the new Bridget Jones movie again. Judge if you will, but Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey are handsome!!!!)

I’m going to spend Mom’s birthday with her, and I pray that I get to spend many, many more with her.

 

 

It’s Hard To Imagine Not Being Obese

I’ve spent so much time thinking about what it will be like to live in a smaller, healthier body, but I can’t really imagine it. I’ve been obese my entire adult life, which leads me to wonder what my face looks like under my excess weight.

Right now I wear a size 7 ring (closer to 6.75,) but I’m guessing that will change. I’m also pretty sure that I’ll lose at least one shoe size, more realistically two sizes. My clothing size will obviously change as well, which is expected. There’s just so much more than that to consider.

I remember what it was like to weigh 284 pounds, and I felt tiny. (Yes, I know that’s still totally obese, but I don’t remember what it was like to be smaller than that.) I felt so light on my feet, yet I cannot imagine what it will be like to be 100 pounds smaller than that.

I never liked to think about the big picture when it came to the numbers because that always used to discourage me. Now I’m just intrigued.

I’m curious to know what it will be like to shop somewhere other than Lane Bryant. (I’m glad they exist for people my size, but it’s going to be fun to have more options.) I also want to know what it feels like to cross my legs or buckle my seatbelt on an airplane.

I want to experience the feelings of relief that will inevitably replace the feelings of anxiety as I request a table at a restaurant, and I want to know what it feels like to have enough room to sit comfortably in a booth.

I want to know what it feels like to run, to wear a pair of high heels and to feel my boyfriend’s arms wrapped around me even more than they already are while his chin sits on my head.

I want to know what it’s like to buy a one piece swim suit, which is something I can’t do now because of all of the excess weight in my abdomen. I also want to know what it feels like to wear a shirt with my favorite sports team’s logo or to order a jacket with my work logo on it.

I want to know what it’s like to sit down in a movie theater without having to raise the arm rest, and I want to know what it’s like to sit outside to drink coffee without having to question what the chairs are made of.

I want to wear jeans.

I have so many questions that only time can answer, so I’m going to muster up as much patience as I can while I strive to have them all answered.

This is my new reality, and I can’t wait to discover what’s ahead.

 

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.

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Gastric Sleeve Update #2

The last 30 hours have been overwhelming in some ways, and I feel so grateful for the support I have in my life. Seriously, God knew exactly what He was doing when He put Michael in my life.

I spoke to the surgeon’s office on Tuesday, and when she heard my story (the weight portion) she encouraged me to complete all of the necessary testing and to see my doctor again sooner than I had planned. She was happy to hear that I’m already a Weight Watchers member and suggested that I speak to my doctor about my food and exercise journey.

cardiologistAfter that conversation, which was encouraging and productive, I made an appointment with a cardiologist and saw her yesterday. My heart is healthy, so my cardiologist ran a few necessary tests and cleared me for the surgery. I still have a couple of remaining steps, and the next big one is coming up on Tuesday of next week.

Tuesday night I experienced a little fear and anxiety over the surgery itself and the aftermath. Everyone tells me it’s the best decision they’ve ever made; they also tell me that it changes everything.

The truth is I definitely want and need to lose weight, but I don’t want it to change everything. I love my life, my family, my boyfriend, my church, my job, my friends, etc. I’m happier than I’ve ever been before, and while I recognize that surgery will make me healthier, I momentarily panicked when I considered the words of people who’ve already experienced it.

Ultimately, I realize that everyone’s journey is different. Maybe their lives needed to change. The fact is that mine started changing drastically about four years ago, and I’m happier and more settled than I ever imagined I would be.

Life is good. It’s not always perfect or easy, but it’s good. I’m so thankful for that, and as I reflected on how many positive changes have happened over the last several years my fear was replaced by faith. My boyfriend, who hugged me and quietly prayed for me, reminded me that God has a plan for  my life, and He’s always faithful.

Now I can rest easily, once again, knowing that I only have to take one step at a time, and I’m thankful for that too.

 

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?

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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Intense Pain, Pretty Nail Polish and Weekend Plans

I’m currently in more pain than I can ever remember being in…ever, and I’ve never felt as weighed down as I do right now. I’m still not the heaviest I’ve ever been, but I feel every pound that I’ve regained over the last few years.

I know that my pain is a direct result of obesity, and I’m disappointed in myself for not taking charge again sooner. I’ve fought hard, but I need to fighter harder…or smarter…or something.I went in again for blood work, and I’m awaiting results from a myriad of tests that they did during my visits. They took blood from my hand, which was odd. I’m glad they’re checking everything, but I’m so ready for relief from the skin stuff I’ve been dealing with for so long.

Skin irritation doesn’t sound particularly bad, but it hurts to stand, drive, lie down, etc. I finished Day 2 of the 10-day prescription, so I’m guessing I’ll start to feel better soon. I definitely hope so.

red OPI polishThankfully, it’s the weekend, and my plan is to stay out of the heat. I don’t usually work on Fridays, but I will get a few things done that I can do from home. I did some cleaning before my shower tonight, so I won’t have to worry about that tomorrow either.

My nails are painted, which always makes me feel good. I’m excited about a few books that I have to read, and Michael will come over for dinner after work.

Saturday I’m having a few friends over to grill on the roof, and the nice thing about the height of my building is that it’s never hot up there. It’s always breezy, and we’ll stay cool in the swimming pool. (Uh, I just rhymed.) It should be an easy weekend, so I’ll have some time to heal.

It’s been a long, physically challenging week, but there’s a lot to be thankful for too. I’m down another 2.6 pounds this week, and I’m thankful for the Weight Watchers meeting I found even if I’m the odd ball. Everyone else is significantly older than I am, which was evident today. I don’t mind though, and I don’t think they do either.

I cannot say it enough. I’m so grateful for my doctor, the medicine and the hope for healing change that seems to be just on the horizon.

 

 

Searching For Happiness Where You Lost it

My friend, Sarah, from Greater at 40, is awesome on so many levels. I met her in Los Angeles several years ago, and she made me feel fashionable and confident during my first interview on the Today Show back in the day. She’s fierce, fashionable and determined to make some healthy changes in her life, and i love following her journey.

As I was looking through her Instagram I found a quote that really struck a chord with me, so I made my own little graphic to share on my own IG account. Check it out:

unnamed

It seems like such an obvious statement, but I can’t count the times I’ve found myself looking for temporary and/or long term satisfaction in people or things that could never offer that. Stop searching for happiness in the same place you lost it. 

In my mind I hear stop eating doughnuts at midnight because you want to replace whatever you’re feeling at the moment with fleeting satisfaction. (I did that.)  Or stop giving your love to the selfish, egotistical man whose actions continually prove you mean nothing to him. (I did that.)

I’m thankful to be in healthier place now, but I do have to constantly remind myself that food won’t make me happy (at least for more than a few minutes.) It’s a struggle for me, but I feel like I’m on the brink of a breakthrough.

I have definitely found fulfillment in real and powerful ways thanks to Jesus, a job I love, a healthy relationship and a circle of loving, trusted friends and family.

I’m pretty happy for the most part, but I’m going to think back to this quote every time I’m looking for a temporary fix. I should probably make it the screensaver on my phone. (I’m just being honest her.)

I’m thankful for Sarah and her journey, and I’m grateful the right words when I need to hear them.

 

Now That I Have Health Insurance Again…

This has been a productive year, and now that I have health insurance again I’m facing the daunting task of finding a primary care physician. Can we talk about how hard it is to find a doctor who will look at your whole person when you’re obese? (Yeah, I know I’m obese. I know I need to change that. I know that’s all you see, but can we discuss other things as well?)

I’m not saying that every doctor will see my size and nothing else, but the reality is that I’m facing an uphill battle. I haven’t had a lot of experience with doctors or hospitals, which is awesome.  I do know that I do need to get a physical and address a couple of  issues that have bothered me for a while. (I’ve mentioned them here in previous posts.)

Last time my blood pressure was checked it was 138/82, which is the highest it’s ever been…ever. I know that’s not terrible, but it was a reality check for me. I think it will be lower in the coming months because I’m exercising more than I have in a long time. My blood sugar was perfect too, which was good. I  just realize that I’m getting older and that I need to get serious about making some minor changes (at the very least.)

My biggest issue lately has nothing to do with finding a PCP though. I constantly squint because it’s harder to see the screens I stare at for the majority of the day. Even reading books on my iPad is taxing on my eyes, so it’s time for another visit to the eye doctor. Thankfully, that’s no big deal.

Do you have health insurance? If so, are you satisfied with your doctors and coverage?

 

 

 

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.