Tag Archives: healthy living

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. 

 

 

 

Back Home from California

Last week I went to California. I started my trip in San Francisco, and it was immediately evident that I’ve come a long way since September. When I step on the scale it always feels like it’s not moving fast enough, but I’m getting smaller, moving better and enjoying life more fully. That means more to me than a number on the scale every could, so I’m pleased with my progress.

I met up with my dear friend, Leslie, in California, and we didn’t take an Uber even one time throughout our days in San Francisco. We walked up and down hills to go to dinner, to go shopping and see everything we saw. We spent the day (well, two days) at Nieman Marcus, and I was tired by the end of the day. I wasn’t exhausted though, and that was such a cool feeling.

We ate lunch at The Rotunda inside Neiman’s, and the lobster was delicious. The popovers with strawberry butter were just as delicious as i remembered, and they brought me back to the time when I lived in New York. I loved that experience, but I’m so happy where I am now. Who knew that a popover could bring me to such an awesome realization? Ha

When I arrived in Pebble Beach, where I would spend the next few days, I walked along the beach from Monterey to Pacific Grove. The scenery was so gorgeous that I didn’t realize how far I had walked until Leslie drove from home to pick me up. I remember how hard it was to complete the Saints 5k on flat land several months ago, but this time, even though I was wearing boots, I felt so spectacular that I felt brave enough to climb on rocks. I wish I could have gotten better pictures to show how far out I was on the rocks, but a selfie was the best I could do since I was out there alone.

 

It’s hard to explain how different I feel, and I’m thankful for that because I felt pretty rough in the weeks following my surgery. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how difficult it was to be so miserable, but that’s okay. It helps me remember how far I’ve come, and it encourages me to keep moving forward. Did I mention that I climbed around on rocks while overlooking the ocean? I wouldn’t have done that six months ago, so it’s a big deal to me.

Now that I’m home again I’m feeling pumped up. As fun as it is to go on an adventure it’s even more fun to return home to my fiancé, my friends and the life I’ve created here in New Orleans. That’s a great feeling too, by the way.

I started trying on clothes this morning, and everything was so big that it’s time to clean out my closet. There’s a giant pile of clothes on my bed now, so I’m going to sort through it and figure out what to keep, what to give away and what to toss. Michael and I will be married 3 months from today, so it’s time to start making some space for him too. He’s going to move in with me, at least until my our lease is up, so we’ll have adequate time to find our next home.

I’m working on some big goals that I’ll discuss in an upcoming blog post, and I’m thankful that I’ve finally found an exercise groove again. Life is pretty good right now, and I’m excited about what the next few months will bring.

Until next time…

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

End of the Year Reflections

I suppose the end of the year always makes me reflective, and this year is no different. Many of my friends are so glad that 2016 is almost over, and there’s something so hopeful about starting  a new year. I’m ready for that too, but 2016 was a great year for me.

At the end of 2015 I started going into an office everyday, and over a year later I had no idea that I could like that so much. I’ve always enjoyed being around people, but getting to work with the people I see everyday has added so much happiness to my life. I feel so much joy when I think about the people whose lives have been touched, and I feel thankful for those who’ve touched mine.

 

I struggled to let go of people who weren’t good for me at the end of 2015 too. Letting go of those people made it possible for me to meet someone who actually loves me.

I technically met Michael for the first time in December of 2015, but I started having feelings for him when we attended a Bible study together at the beginning of the year. That time of intimacy and healing among friends led me to fall in love with that man while allowing God to move in our lives and heal us from past hurts.

In the Spring I had the most terrifying experience of my life when Mom had, not one, but two strokes. I was so afraid of losing her for a while, but God was gracious once again. I knew at that point that I wasn’t turning away from Him, and I told Him that no matter what, I needed Him to continue holding me. God really showed off His strength in my weakness throughout that time, and my faith was renewed over and over as a result.

When the Summer came I got health insurance for the first time in a long while, and I found a new doctor who suggested that I have weight-loss surgery. My process was streamlined because of my experience with Weight Watchers, and on September 28th I went through with the surgery.

The surgery took much more out of me than I realized it would, and the healing process felt a little like hell on earth. I faced feelings of regret, fear and faced an unexpected lack of self-confidence. I was miserable for many weeks, but the weight started coming off. As hard as it was I am so thankful that I went through that process. I’m also thankful for the opportunities I have now to remind others that it will eventually be okay again…better than okay.

Throughout the post-op, healing process I was reminded how loved I am. My mom, Michael and a few friends did everything they could to make me happy and comfortable even when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was forced to recognize how loved I am for no reason other than people choose to love me. That was a pretty awesome realization.

Now I’m moving into 2017 planning a wedding to a man who makes my life feel like a Hallmark movie. Seriously though…we compliment each other well.  I don’t have dreams of a big, crazy wedding, but I can’t wait to get it done so I can wake up next to him everyday. I spent a big part of the afternoon researching venues and talking with friends who have gone through this process in the area. I think I may have found the perfect place, but I won’t know more until after the holidays (next week maybe.)

There’s so much to be thankful for at the end of each year, but this year has been pretty wonderful overall. It wasn’t all easy, but the positives outweighed the negatives for me.

I don’t think life is patterned in yearly segments, but I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings. I hope you are too.

Happy New Year!

 

Date Night, Shiftcon and More…

Life has been pretty good over the last few weeks, but this has been one of the best weeks I’ve had in quite a while.

domenica-new-orleansTuesday night Michael and I went out for an early dinner at my favorite restaurant, which is located in the Roosevelt Hotel near my home. The food was delicious! I used to eat the majority of their thin pizza, but that night I was able to eat a small slice.

After dinner we walked into the lobby of the hotel because it’s always decorated beautifully at Christmas, and there were old-fashioned Christmas carolers singing all of my favorite tunes.

I also met Santa Claus that night, which was the highlight of the tree lighting! I’m pretty sure he was the real Santa too because he definitely looked the part.

santa-clausAfter the tree-lighting ceremony we walked back to my place to put our leftovers in the fridge, then we walked down to the Riverwalk. It’s only a few blocks from home too, so we stroll over there from time to time.

We stopped at the Riverwalk outlet mall and shopped. Okay, no…I shopped while Michael played Pokemon Go, and I was able to find the perfect Christmas gift for my dad.

It was also a healthy week for me, which makes me feel good. After hearing my primary doctor tell me that she’s “never seen anyone do so poorly” after weight-loss surgery I dropped another 6 pounds. I’ve added two since then, which brings me to 52 pounds lost since in the last 10 weeks. I’m not losing weight as quickly as I thought I would (or as quickly as others have lost,) but I’m losing. I’m not seeing it on the scale, but I’m feeling it in my clothes.

I bought a shirt last month that I couldn’t button yet hoping that it would fit by Christmas, but it fits now. I could wear it, but I have to drive an hour each way back to The Avenue because they forgot to remove the sensor. I’m glad I kept my receipt!

Now it’s the end of the week, and I spent the day at Shiftcon. I’ve been struggling to consume enough protein lately, but I resorted to drinking things that I don’t like. Thankfully, when I arrived at Shiftcon this morning I learned about a product called Vital Proteins, and it’s going to be a game changer for me.

The awesome folks at Vital Proteins sent me home with lots of unflavored protein that I can add to my coffee and most other things I consume, and it’s such a relief to know that I’ll have enough protein by the day’s end (without continuing to drink stuff that I find appalling.

There are so many awesome people and products at Shiftcon that I’m still a bit overwhelmed by it all (in a good way.) It was so nice to see my long time pal, Alyssa, and my fierce friend, Kia. We were Twitter partying together, which we’ll be doing again tomorrow at 4 pm. You should join us if you can to win some cool prizes!

shiftcon-twitter-party

Now I’m heading out again to have coffee with my friend, Amanda. I’m not ready for beignets, but it’s a great night for a warm and cozy drink.

I can’t wait to head back to Shiftcon tomorrow. I’m so glad it’s right here in my neighborhood because change is happening right in my backyard.

I’m feeling better than I have in months, maybe years. I feel smaller, healthier and lighter on my feet, and I’m starting to feel like this whole weight-loss surgery thing is working. I’m also working on exercising more, and this week I’ve really enjoyed it. (That’s a relief!)

 

 

 

Quiet, but Happy

I haven’t had much to say here lately. I’ve been busier than normal, which is a good thing because now I’m ready to relax and enjoy the holidays. I love this time of year!

I’ve been avoiding the scale for weeks now, and I’m happier that way. I know I must be losing pounds or inches or something because my clothes fit much better than they did, but I’m also retaining a lot of fluid this week.

When I spoke to the dietitian at my surgeon’s office a couple of weeks ago she told me to drink considerably more water than I had been drinking since surgery. I went from drinking about a gallon a day to drinking less than a bottle a day post-op. Now I’m drinking one to two bottles a day (at least,) but my goal is 4 bottles (or 64 oz.) I rarely reach that, but I’m starting to reach my protein goals on a daily basis, so I’m still making some progress.

This journey hasn’t been easy. I spent most of last month fighting feelings of anger and regret toward my choice to have surgery, but I’m over that now. I’ve made peace with my decision, and I seriously need to give it some time to work. I’m doing my best most days, which feels like enough right now.

A coupe of weeks ago I decided to focus on other things, and I’ve been much happier since then. I’ve gotten back to my old self, in that, I’m spending time with loved ones again, cooking, baking and enjoying work.

My Christmas tree is up thanks to my Christmas-loving boyfriend, who took time to pick it out and fluff it with me, and I’m almost finished with my holiday shopping.

My exercise restrictions were lifted last week, and my food restrictions are lifted this week. I don’t eat much at all, but I’m starting to get used to it. That’s been the weirdest adjustment so far. In fact, I may discuss that in a different post at some point.

Life is pretty good right now. I’m happy, and I have some big things to look forward to. The future is bright, and I’m thankful.

 

Hungry and Frustrated, but Improving, I Guess

I’m still down exactly 40 pounds, and it’s been almost a week since the scale moved at all. I can think of a few things that might contribute to that (PMS, lack of calories,) but it’s frustrating. I’m doing my best to trust the process, and I am sticking to the rules. I can only hope that I’ll start losing again as I become more active.

The truth is I’m seeing daily improvements. After two and a half weeks I started driving again, and that has helped me feel a bit more normal. Today I got a manicure and shopped for yarn that I plan to use to make scarves and hats for my nieces. I planned to go into Walmart with my boyfriend today, but I was wiped out after walking around Michaels for half an hour. (I’m still not as strong as before.)

Seeing improvements reminds me that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but it doesn’t dissolve the anger I feel. (Yes, I feel angry that I’ve only lost 40 pounds in a month. That’s ridiculous; I know.)

I’m legitimately hungry. (Tell me you’r not hungry after eating nothing for over a month,) but I also just miss food. I think I was so comfortable in my addiction to food that it’s hard to let go. I’m just conflicted because we all need food to live.

I don’t miss cake, cookies or sweets. I’m oddly disgusted by that right now, but I’m craving a few of the same things everyday. If I could eat food right now I’d buy a steak burrito from Chipotle with extra veggies, sour cream and corn salsa. I’d also eat chips and guacamole, obviously.

I’ve also consistently craved various forms of chicken – rotisserie, smoked, Chinese chicken from the buffet near Mom’s house that I used to order to-go. I’m also craving sushi. I’d love to eat the crab that I used to get inside the Naruto Roll, which is wrapped cucumber instead of rice.

It’s weird not to want sweets, but I find them as repulsive as I find soda…just gross.

I’m sharing my feelings on this in the hopes that I can look back someday soon and tell myself that it was worth going through this. I don’t think that right now, but I’m going to continue to follow the rules.

Maybe I’ll have something better to say next time…

 

Less Than Two Weeks After Weight-Loss Surgery

It’s been almost two weeks since I had surgery. I wish I could say that I feel better, but I don’t. I actually feel pretty terrible. I’ve made some great strides in terms of healing. I don’t feel pain or bloating anymore, which is awesome. I’ve dropped about 40 pounds, which is also awesome. I’m just miserable too.

Saturday I spent the day in the emergency room because I was dehydrated. My dear friend, Brandon, came down from New York to visit me. He brought me tea from Starbucks (and gift cards to use when I can tolerate it better later.) He spent time inside with me, but on Saturday we ventured out for a walk.

brandon-and-kenlieMy energy level is at zero. I’m not in much pain at all, but I’m exhausted. Just taking the elevator and walking the length of the lobby to him made me tired and shaky. He knew we’d go slow, and we did. After stopping several times on one block (the length of my building) I told him I could go another block. I was wrong. 

We stopped so I could lean against a wall, and he snapped a selfie of us. He immediately noticed that I was leaning into him, cold and sweaty and started walking back toward my building.

When we accessed the back entrance I immediately sat down. I felt dizzy and sweaty even though I also felt cold. I think I passed out because the next thing I remember was Brandon saying, “Kenlie, wake up. Look at me. Focus on your breathing. Keep your eyes open.” It felt like this phase lasted for an eternity, but they said it was about 20 minutes.

At that point Brandon called Michael, who was upstairs doing my laundry, and he came down. They quickly made the decision to call an ambulance, and Michael went into first-responder mode. (He’s an Eagle Scout, and he used to work as a first-responder, which I was thankful for yesterday.) Bran continued to get me to look at him, and all I can remember is looking at his chin and trying desperately to open my eyes.

The ambulance arrived in less than two minutes – one of the perks of living in the center of downtown, and it only took about two more minutes to reach the hospital once they hooked me up to fluids and checked my vitals.

I spent the next several hours at the emergency room, where I was greeted by a friendly anddehydrated empathetic doctor. When I told him what was happening he said he’d be miserable and much crankier than I  if he had only had 60 calories so far too.

They ran several tests and gave me two liters of fluid. The second bag even had a few added calories, and I was relieved that I’d be hydrated again soon. (Seriously, can’t I just lie around with an IV for the next few weeks?)

After several hours they released me and told me to see my primary at some point early in the week.

I know I’ve said it already, but this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done…ever. I’m exhausted all the time, but I’m finally able to sleep in bed. I couldn’t do that a week ago. I haven’t eaten anything since September 15th, which was almost a month ago. I don’t know anyone who had to do liquids that long prior to surgery, and I’m still a few weeks away from eating semi-solid foods like eggs and mozzarella sticks. (That’s a day I’m looking forward to.)

In a few days I can start consuming pre-made protein shakes, which should help because the powder one I usually love is currently the most appalling and disgusting thing on the planet. I seriously have more disdain for the protein shakes than I do for the current presidential candidates!

I can also start “eating” Greek yogurt in a few days, and I hope my body can tolerate it because I’d like to take advantage of the fact that we finally have a Trader Joe’s in town.

My mom has been my champion, and my boyfriend has been amazing too. Their love for me is so evident, and I’m thankful (even though I’m also cranky.) Dad is coming down to visit later this month, and I hope and pray that I’m doing better by then.

Right now I’m struggling. I can’t believe I did this to myself. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be this hard. If I had known I wouldn’t have done it. I’m not kidding.

People who have experienced this surgery say that I’ll look back at some point and think it was worth it. I hope that’s true. I’m pretty sure I know it’s true, but it doesn’t feel that way right now.

I live my life by choosing to look at the positive, but right now it’s hard to see. I hope I see the bright side soon because I can’t be bothered being sad for long.

Five Days Post Op

I’ve officially reached the “why in the hell would I do this to myself?” phase, and I’m not happy about it. I’m healing and dropping a little weight, but I’m exhausted from showering, walking and trying to drink 48 ounces of liquids each day.

Yesterday I was struggling with cabin fever, so my boyfriend and Mom took me on a little trip to a place I’m always comfortable. I slept much better than I have since surgery, and I know I’m healing. I know I have to be patient…blah, blah, blah…I’m just ready to see some progress. I’m ready to confidently move around without fear of the gripping pain that comes with moving too quickly. I’m ready to curl up in my own bed, which just isn’t possible yet.

Right now it takes me almost 5 minutes to drink an ounce of anything. I knew it would be like this, but it’s still hard to wrap my head around it. It’s even hard to hold my iPad up long enough to read books, answer messages on social media and such.

I know I shouldn’t complain about this awesome opportunity that I had to regain control of my body while losing weight, but today I’m frustrated. Today I need to be reminded that I made a carefully thought out choice and that everyone I know who has been through it says it was the best choice they’ve ever made.

I definitely don’t feel like that now, but I know feelings lie. I know this was a good decision, but right now it’s hard. I guess that’s just part of my process, but what I should do is remind myself that God is faithful and cut myself some slack since it’s been less than a week.

My goal for today is to read, walk, sip and spend time with people I love, and hopefully, I’ll improve a bit more tomorrow.

I Can Do This

I’m several days into my liquids phase, and while it’s not fun it’s not miserable. I avoid situations that might feel like torture (like watching everyone eat pizza,) but I’m okay otherwise. I have a cozy, comfortable home, and it’s my favorite place to be right now.

Yesterday after church I skipped my weekly lunch with friends, and I went home. My plan to was to change clothes and head to the mall to do a little shopping, but I took a long, afternoon nap instead. It’s just easier to be here right now because food is everywhere, and I’m hyper-aware of my desire to eat something no matter where I am. It made me feel sad and lonely for a few minutes until I realized how excited I am about this opportunity.

I also feel empowered right now. As much as it sucks to skip a delicious meal among friends, it also feels good to think about how well I’m doing in sticking to the plan. The liver-shrinking diet isn’t sustainable long-term, nor should it be. It’s definitely giving me more confidence by the day though, which was unexpected.

The truth is I really didn’t know if I could do it. I have to give all credit to Jesus because He’s strong in my weakness, but it’s incredible to know that He provides enough strength everyday.

Mornings are good for me because I don’t want food, but evenings are tougher. Thankfully, I discovered my love for Ramen broth and strained French onion soup. Those things satisfy my craving for savory things, which makes this phase much easier to tolerate.

Now I’m enjoying a quiet night at home with Michael. I love it when he’s here, and it’s comforting to know that he has already experienced this. He’s traveling a lot for work now, so he can be here for my surgery.

Overall things are going much smoother than I could have imagined. I don’t know why I’m always so surprised when God provides exactly what I need. Thank you, Jesus.

I’m looking forward to chewing things again, but I’m going to make it through the next several weeks until it happens.

I know I can do it now, and that is a tremendous feeling.