Tag Archives: Kenlie

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!

 

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.

 

The Next Chapter

This process is still frustrating, but I feel so much better this week. The last few days have been mostly good, and I finally feel like I’m getting back to normal. I plan to go back to work, at least a little next week, and I think that will help me feel some normality too.

Yesterday my incredibly patient boyfriend and I walked around Audubon Park at my speed. Tortoises could have passed me on the track, but it felt so good to be moving that I didn’t care. I exceeded 10,000 steps for the first time since surgery.

Today my new bed arrived, which is exciting. I mentioned recently that Michael loves his king-size Tempurpedic bed and that my queen-size queen spring mattress needed to be replaced. The delivery guys showed up early, which was awesome. It was so weird and awesome to lie down on it and let it conform to my body. Now we both have awesome beds, and I’m seriously looking forward to going to sleep tonight.

Overall, things are looking up. It’s still frustrating that I can’t eat things, but in about a month all of my restrictions will be lifted. Right now I’m drinking lots of protein and eating Greek yogurt. In the coming week I plan to try oatmeal, potatoes and bananas. I obviously won’t be able to eat much of any of it, but I’m looking forward to having more options.

I’ve been home for a little over three weeks, and it’s been difficult and emotional. I’m so thankful for my family, my boyfriend and a few close friends. I know I’ve already said it, but Mom and Michael made this so much easier than it would have been. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this without them.

I feel pretty disconnected from everyone else right now, but I’m looking forward to jumping back into life and seeing what’s ahead in this next chapter.

 

 

 

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…

 

The Aftermath: The Truth About Weight-Loss Surgery

I seriously wish I had something to talk about right now, apart from my surgery and healing process, but I don’t. It has consumed the last two weeks since I’ve been home from the hospital.

Today was emotional for me, just like many other days in the last two weeks. The difference today was that I feel stronger than I have in a while. My heart still races when I walk out of my apartment down the long hallway, to the elevator, then to another elevator, then to my car. I’m still nervous each morning as I step into the shower, but I’m doing it.

I’m struggling with the things I’m missing right now:

  • Eating Food – I haven’t chewed a piece of of food in a month, and I still have a week and a half to go.
  • Singing – I can do it, but it takes my breath away. Leading people into worship at church is one of my favorite privileges, but I need to continue to heal before I do it again.
  • Snuggling and Hugging – We can hold hands, and we do. I just can’t curl up with him to watch a movie or anything. My top love language is physical touch, so that’s been difficult for me. I haven’t hugged many people in the last few weeks, which is categorically unlike me.
  • Shopping – I like the instant gratification that comes from doing things like this, but I’ve been too tired to bother.
  • Cooking – It would be too hard to cook right now since I can’t eat, but I’ll be able to make a few recipes from SkinnyTaste.com in the coming weeks. I can’t wait because I just want to feel normal again.
  • Spending Time with Friends – I had a couple of visitors this week, they brought so much light into my day! I’m so thankful that I have such amazing friends. I just miss seeing them and doing things we usually do together.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining, and I’m not trying to. I’m just trying to express how difficult it is to experience all of these changes at one time. It’s insane.

A few times today I cried and said that I wished I could take it all back and that if I could go back in time I wouldn’t go through with surgery. I know how stupid that sounds even as it’s coming out of my mouth. I just want want to feel like my old, energetic-enough-to-get-through-the-day-and-night self.

What I have been reminded of over the last couple of weeks is that I’m surrounded by people who love me. Mom and Michael are both sincerely willing to do every little thing I need. I’ve acted like a baby. I’ve been difficult to handle because I’m dealing with anger over being hungry and tired. They’ve both stopped me in my tracks and prayed for me until I felt better.

Dad is coming to visit next week, which makes me happy too. I’m also feeling so much better today that I think I may head back to work next week. I’ll probably work less than I do regularly, but it gives me something to look forward to.

It’s still hard, but it’s getting easier. I’m finally out of the haze of discomfort that I’ve been in, so I’m starting to feel like things might be okay soon. The hardest part is almost over, and that’s a relief.

Surgical recovery is different for everyone; I know that. I also know that no one seems to remember being in so much pain or needing much time to heal, so I’ve documented this pretty closely. I don’t want it to define me, but I also don’t want to forget how hard I had to work for this.

When there’s a time down the road when I have to do something hard I’ll look at posts like this one, or the posts about the 5k I finished in last place when I weighed well over 350 pounds. I’ll remind myself that I’ve gone through hard things before and that I can do it again.

 

 

 

 

An Attitude Adjustment

I had a major adjustment in my attitude yesterday, which needed to happen. Surgical recovery has been rough to say the least. I’ve struggled more than I imagined I would, but I finally feel like I’m on the mend.

Yesterday I woke up and felt a level of pain that I haven’t experienced since early Summer. My skin irritation (cellulitis) was back in full force, and I was immediately reminded “why I did this to myself.”

I struggled for a few days with regret, knowing it was temporary, but allowing it to anger me none the less. When I felt the pain associated with my skin, which is a direct result of obesity, I was filled with hope. Yes, I did this to myself, and now I’m doing something about it.

Sleeping last night was a major struggle, but I was bothered by my skin more than anything pertaining to surgery. My boyfriend has a Tempurpedic mattress, and he thinks I need one too. I’m not sure what to think about that yet because there are so many choices now. It’s overwhelming.

Today I saw my primary doctor, and I’ve lost over 10% of my body weight since I last saw her. She took me off of my blood pressure medicine, which is great. I started taking it in July, and I’m glad it’s over.

I couldn’t do this with Mom, Michael and Jesus. I already knew that Mom would move the earth to make me feel better, and I couldn’t be more thankful for her. And Michael has been more patient, strong and loving than I ever imagined a man could be. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I even spent some time at the park today, and I’m finally feeling well enough for friends to visit.

I almost feel human again, and I’m hoping my tolerance for protein shakes, water and vitamins will help increase my energy levels. Overall, I’m improving, and I seriously hope that I can say that I feel great again soon.

 

 

 

 

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.