Tag Archives: Richard Simmons

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. 




I Will Always Love Richard Simmons Because of Moments Like This One

I cannot believe that this happened for the first time five years ago!

I think of Richard so often, and right now I’m going through training that makes me think of him everyday.

He helped me change the way I see myself. He made it okay for me to love myself more, to desire more for my life and to feel confident dancing off the pounds.

I’ve gained weight since this video, but I’m in pretty healthy groove right now. Watching this video for the first time in ages reminds me that I can do very cool things.

If you’re reading this, Richard, I love you and miss you and pray for you.

Okay, Let’s Talk About Richard Simmons

It’s been quiet around here lately, but I don’t think I can stay quiet about Richard Simmons any longer. I had mixed feelings about discussing him here, so I just didn’t. Thinking of him makes my heart swell with sadness, but after the media reports that surfaced last week I think it’s time speak up.

Richard went into hiding, or something two years ago, and I miss the man I’ve adored most of my life. Even as a kid, before I thought of myself as overweight/plus-sized, I admired him because of his love for people. And many years later, when I wrote him an open letter on my blog, his response was prompt and overwhelming. I never thought that the larger-than-life fitness icon would care that I wrote him a letter, so I was blown away when I received the first of many emails only a few days later.

At the time I was at the top of my weight-loss game, but everything slowly began to crumble when the pesky airline made me feel like I was as worthless as they thought I was. Regardless, I got on a plane and flew to Los Angeles to take a class with him at Slimmons, and those workouts were among the coolest things I’ve ever experienced in my life. (It was so cool, in fact, that I thought it was a good idea to move to Beverly Hills just to be close enough to exercise with him regularly, so I did.)

Richard Simmons

Richard made me feel like anything was possible, but even more importantly, he made me feel like I was lovable just like I was. (I hadn’t discovered that yet.)

Richard Simmons and Kenlie at Slimmons

When he went into seclusion he stopped emailing people he communicated with regularly (myself included.) At first, I wondered if I had unknowingly offended him. I wondered if he had given up on me since I was struggling with my weight again, but several months later I learned that it wasn’t me at all.

There was a sign at his studio saying that he’d be back next month, which became the next month and the next month…I soon learned that he stopped responding to my friends like KeepItUpDavid, who were in constant contact with him as well, and months later no one had heard anything from him.

Richard SImmons and KeepItUpDavid and Kenlie

TMZ reached out to my at one point last year, but I refused to talk. The Today Show used footage from when I worked out at Slimmons for the first time to tell viewers that Richard had resurfaced, but that wasn’t true either.

Richard Simmons Kenlie Today Show

There’s been radio silence from Richard until last week when he called in for an interview with Today. It was such a relief to hear his voice that I shed tears for a moment at my desk. At the same time I was sad to hear his quiet, almost calculated words. He sounded sad, which made me sad.

I don’t know what he’s going through. (I have some theories, but I won’t be elaborating on them.) He has the right to live his life privately if that’s what he wants to do.  I just want him to be happy, and I hope he knows that no matter what, I love him, I’m praying for him, I miss him, and I hope I see his face again someday.


Crafty Kenlie

I’ve been quiet here over the last few weeks, but I’ve been blogging in other places. I wrote a post about Old Navy on the PlusInc blog, and I wrote an article about my love for Richard Simmons on DietsinReview.com. Last week the Today Show talked about Richard, and a friend sent me this photo from the segment. I had never seen it, but I remember that day. It made me smile, and I want to wish Richard every happiness. I’m praying for his healing too.

Richard Simmons Today Show and Kenlie

The month started with a bit of stress, but most of it has subsided. Now I’m in holiday mode, and I cannot wait to finish decorating for Christmas. I’ve been baking cookies, which is something that I do at this time of year. (I’ll share some photos soon.)

I’ve also been making wreaths. I sold a few last week, which is great because it means that I get to make more wreaths. I’ve been knitting too, which is also good because it keeps my hands busy.

Crafting has always been a pretty big part of my life, but lately I’ve been reminded of how much I love it! Cookie art aside, crafting keeps me from mindlessly snacking, which is a double-win.

Christmas Deco Mesh Wreath

red and silver deco mesh wreath



Thanksgiving is almost here. The end of the semester will be here before I know it, and that means that I have to manage my time well so that I’m not stressing over exams and papers two weeks from now.

Happy (almost) holidays!

Failure, Fear and Complacency

Today has been a great day, but I didn’t reach my steps goal.  I’m happy to say that I worked out, but I didn’t start until 11:20 pm when I got home.  My numbers were embarrassingly low today, but I can admit that I made other things my priority.

omron pedometer mamavation

I started school today, and I was busy working on things that had to be done, in addition to having fun with friends in the evening.  I know that fitness needs to be a part of my life everyday, and I’ve promised myself to reach my goal before I leave for class since I’ll be there all afternoon and evening.

In other news, I am happy to report that I am feeling good about my choice to not go on dates for at least a month.  I feel loved and fulfilled.  It’s not like I’ve lost any and all desire to be with someone eventually, but I have allowed myself to focus on other things.  There’s someone I think about from time to time.  He’s an incredible person, but we’ll never date so, in a way, it feels safe to dream about him once in a while.

I’ve also received several questions about Project Hope, a weight-loss system that Richard Simmons designed for those who want to get serious about losing weight.  I proclaimed that I was going to do it, then I didn’t do it.  I exercise.  You know it.  Richard knows it.  We all know it, but the commitment to changing my food habits makes me feel weak.  I honestly don’t know what it will take to get my habits back under control because I do okay for a while, then I suck at it again.

I’m smart and driven, but when it comes to food, I feel like a complete and utter failure.  So to all of you who have e-mailed me asking for answers regarding Project HOPE, I will say this.  I looked over the plan studied it and know that I can confidently tell you that if you do it, it will work.  It’s a common sense approach to weight-loss, but I have not made the effort to make the plan work for me.

It’s hard to be here and admit how hard this struggle has been.  It’s been harder than ever lately.  While I was at Fitbloggin’, I managed to gain several pounds which are still taunting me now, and I’m scared.

I’m terrified that I’m going to move so far in the wrong direction that I’ll never get back on track.  I cannot let that happen.  The workouts help, but they don’t solve the whole problem.

I don’t know what to do.  Actually, I do.  I need to stop eating more than I need.  Calories in, calories out…blah, blah, blah….Spare me. This isn’t about food; it’s about what’s inside my head.

My faults are written all over my body, and it affects almost every area of my life.  I need to change, but I don’t have any grand plans for it today.  I suppose I just need to vent, admit my feelings of failure and move on.

I have changed.  My life has changed.  I have so much more than I deserve, and I am so thankful for the changes that have happened on the inside.  I’m thankful for my life, my home, my family, my friends, my church, my school…the list goes on…

At this time two years ago I was completely and utterly lost, and now I’m happier than I ever could have imagined.  Why can’t I just control my food choices?  Why am I so weak?  How was I so strong before?

I feel like the girl I was when I lost weight is a complete stranger now.  I mean, I never really knew her because I spent so much time lying to myself.  Now that I’ve experienced incredible change it seems like the food part should be easy.  It’s not.

I’ve had an amazing day, and I’m going to go to bed pleased with what is happening in my life.  I just wish I didn’t have to deal with this burdensome cloud of “I’ll do better tomorrow Syndrome” that seems to keep me from moving forward.

My goals for tomorrow include exercising before school, packing a healthy, high protein meal for in between classes and to eat a salad. There’s no ending on a positive note today, apart from admitting that I need to pick myself up and try again.





Richard Simmons’ Project HOPE

Earlier this week a reporter from a national news organization e-mailed me to ask about my current weight and the progress I’ve made recently.  It was hard to admit that I didn’t have an awesome update for her, but I told her to check back in a few months because I’ll have something more interesting to say.

I have been trying to figure out how to move forward.  My workouts have been solid so far this year, but my eating has been inconsistent.  Some days I don’t eat enough, and most days I eat too much.  I’ve lacked direction for well over a year, but in my heart I still believe that I can do this.  And last night I decided to commit to 90 days of healthy eating and exercising. That won’t take me to my goal, but right now inching forward would be enough.

If you read my blog often, you know that I absolutely adore Richard Simmons, and over the last couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to sweat at Slimmons.  His workouts are intense, but they’re also so much fun!  I’ve never enjoyed working out as much as when I’m working out with Richard which is why “Party Off the Pounds” has been my favorite workout DVD since I purchased it in 2010.


Now Richard has launched a 90-day progressive system called Project HOPE.  I recorded the infomercial because I was curious and because my pal, KeepItUpDavid, is featured in it.  He has lost 165 pounds with Richard, and if you go to his blog, you’ll learn that every part of his life has been affected for the better.

Last night when I came home I skipped watching White Collar and watched Richard’s infomercial instead, and  before it was over I had purchased the 90-day plan.


I know that I need help, and I know that I need to get a grip on my food habits.  I do well for a few days, but I lack the consistency that I once had.  I lack the confidence and the hope that I used to know would take me to my ultimate goal.  I know that I need to have faith in myself, but I have struggled to find it.

In order to lose weight I need to believe that I can regain control over my food choices.  I need to feel hope again, and Richard has given it to people around the world for almost 40 years.  I own many of his workout DVD’s, but this new program offers more than that.  In addition to several workouts, I will also receive a food plan and recipes that are satisfying, filling and nutritious.  Working out can be fun, and I’m looking forward to enjoying healthy foods too.

Getting to my ultimate goal still feels nearly impossible, but I do believe that I can make significant improvements over 90 days with Richard’s workout and Food Mover programs.  I’ve gotten better at eating at home, and with some direction and a short-term goal, I think I will find success.  And one thing I’ve learned is that success breeds more success.

I know that while Richard can provide the tools, I will have to make the effort to move forward myself.  Ninety days won’t take me to a healthy weight, but it will take me a lot closer to my goal than I’ve been in a long, long time.


Reader Question: Where Do I Start?

It’s been a while since I’ve answered a reader question on my blog so today seems like a good day for it.   I’ve received so many messages from people who want to know where to start, and I know that it can be overwhelming so I’m asking for your help in answering their questions.  Take a look at this message from a lovely lady in the area, and tell me what you would suggest to help her get started on her own journey.

Hi Kenlie! I’m local and saw an article about you in the newspaper. Congratulations on your weight loss journey and for taking a stand against discrimination of overweight people. I am 280 lbs and know I need to take control of my weight. How do I even start? Moneywise, it is so much more expensive to eat healthy. I dont have the money to go to a gym. Any suggestions on getting started are greatly appreciated! Good luck on your journey!



Hi A,

Thanks for the message. It’s nice to hear from someone local!

It sounds like we weigh almost the same right now, and I have to tell you that I’m not an expert.  With that said, I’m happy to tell you how I got started.

I lived in New York, and my first step was joining a Weight Watchers group.

Weight Watchers taught me what a serving of food should actually look like which was great because I seriously didn’t realize how much I was eating.  Seriously, even if I ate only half of my old favorite dish at Chili’s, Chicken Crispers, potatoes and corn on the cob, I’d still be eating almost an entire day’s worth of calories just in one meal.   And that’s not even including appetizers, drinks or dessert!  I could easily add another 1,000 calories to that just with chips and salsa!

Yeah, I knew I was eating more than the average woman, but Weight Watchers helped me understand just how much I was eating and how to make better choices that were still satisfying.

Add 590 calories for the loaded mashed potatoes and corn on the cob for a total of about 2,250 calories for one meal.

And speaking of empty calories I cut out soda cold turkey in 2009, and it’s by far the best thing I have ever done for my body.  It was really hard, and it sucked for months.  I told myself that I could drink one later if I really wanted to, but eventually it lost its appeal.  I remember a time in my life in which I couldn’t fathom giving up sodas, and now the thought of it is just gross.

But the eating part of healthy living is still much harder for me than the exercise part, but I’m trying to tackle it.  I started counting calories about seven weeks ago, but I still weigh-in at a local WW meeting once a month or so.  The support you receive at meetings is priceless.

And I love the gym now, but I didn’t always feel that way. When I started trying to turn things around I started walking. Seriously, I didn’t walk fast or long, but I did more than I had done previously. And as time passed it took more effort to get my heart pumping which reminded me that I was getting stronger!

In addition to walking I also bought my first Richard Simmons DVD.   I own several now, but Party Off the Pounds is still my favorite. I found my copy at Walgreens, but you can get it online here as well. And to this day it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made in fitness. I didn’t have to worry about looking ridiculous (even though I’m sure I did at first.)  And it will definitely make you sweat!

And speaking of Richard, I was on Dr. Drew's show with him last week. And out of all of the pictures I've taken with him, this is the *only* one in which we're not smiling. Of course, we were discussing a very serious issue.

So in short A, I starting with walking and aerobics worked for me, and now I love to sweat!

In regards to food, try to replace something unhealthy that you’re eating with fresh veggies. I eat a 6 cup salad for lunch most days (romaine lettuce, 1 tbsp of light Caesar and 7g of mini croutons) with chicken or salmon (on the side) or some other form of protein like egg whites.

The most important thing is just starting somewhere right now instead of waiting until tomorrow or Monday or January,  then don’t stop.  Keep trying even when it feels like you’re messing up over and over.  Most people take a few steps forward and a few back.  Don’t get discouraged, and don’t quit.

Again, I’m no expert, but I’m surrounded by them.  In my experiencethe people here know what they’re doing, and they’re always willing to help so let’s ask them.

Thanks again for reaching out, and I hope you’ll do it again soon.




So friends…What advice can you give to someone who wants to change the way they live with food and exercise?  What’s the most important step in getting started?



Not Really Sure What I’m Doing

Yesterday was a fun day for me. Cal came over late afternoon, and he accompanied me to the gym before heading back to my place to help me make dinner.  He grilled steak for fajitas and I chopped and sauteed vegetables.  And we even made salsa with my KitchenAid blender.  Have I ever mentioned that I love fresh cilantro?  It’s true.  Our dinner was amazing, and I was so ready to eat it that I forgot to take a picture…Can you believe that? 😉

After dinner we watched the Presidential debate on Bloomberg (which is so much fun when I can watch with someone who understands what’s going on in my head!) But I have to admit that I was pretty self-conscious before that  (when we arrived at the gym.)   He’s never really seen me sweat (apart from a slight glisten when we took a walk near the Mississippi River) until yesterday, but it’s a big part of who I am so I didn’t hold back.  I tore up the elliptical for a few minutes before working my upper body, and I felt great at the end.

My workouts have been pretty solid since I joined Anytime Fitness.  And while I know I’ll experience a gain on the scale this week (after how I ate last week when Uncle W was in the hospital,)  I’m still pleased with the direction I’m moving in now.  And I know that the scale will start reflecting my efforts soon.  I’ve been killing it at the gym this week, but I worry that I may not be making the most of my time at the gym. I did managed to climb the height of the Empire State Building 2.89 times before hitting the weights.  (Thanks for calculating it Ron and for pointing it out, Anne!)

On the elliptical....

I’m trying to get comfortable with the weight machines at my new gym, and while I have pretty good form, I am trying to utilize machines that I haven’t used up this point.  And now that I’m comfortable with how, I really need to know how much.  I’d like to hire a trainer soon, but I’m not sure where to start with that so I’ve been taking notes and using google to figure out what I should be doing.  I’ve also been keeping a journal of my workouts.  (Yes, I carry a little notebook to the gym so I can remember what I did.)  I write in it after every set.  But there’s no rhyme or reason to my weight training, and I need to change that.  I’ve been feeling sore over the last few days, but not overly sore so I wonder if I’m doing too much or not enough.  I really don’t know.  If you click on the picture below, you’ll see that I’m putting in effort.  But you’ll also see that I’m making it up as I go along.

There's a bicycle on the front of my book, and it says "Life's a Journey." Just saying...


Richard Simmons, while famous for his cardio workouts, teaches the importance of weight training in his classes.  Did you know that he makes toning videos too?   He ends every class with weight training and floor exercises,  And though I’m not at Slimmons every week anymore, I strive to do the kind of workouts that would make Richard proud.  And it’s important to me to make the most out of the time I spend at the gym so it’s my goal to make a better plan.

Uh, for the record, I'm not usually looking up and smiling while I do leg curls.

I’m doing my best right now, but if anyone has advice to offer, I’m willing to listen.  Until then, I’ll just keep doing what I think is right and hoping that I can start seeing the reflection of my efforts on the scale and in the mirror.  Is weight training part of your routine?  Are you nervous to try it because you’re not sure where to start?  Do you have any advice to offer yours truly? 🙂

Slimmons and More…

Yesterday was lovely from start to finish!  I started the day with a workout – Richard Simmons’ Party Off the Pounds.  Then I met up with Gail from Shrinking Sisters and her lovely family.  They came to Beverly Hills to look around and enjoy lunch with me before heading to Slimmons.

I ate a chicken panini with fruit salad, and Gail and I took pictures of our food, of course.  She even took a picture of me taking a picture of our food.  Being friends with Gail is easy because I never have to explain that I want to take a picture for my blog. 😉

And after an afternoon of walking around, my aunts and I made our way to Slimmons along with Gail where we saw Heidi, Patty, Michelle and other awesome people like Richard Simmons. =0) He’s just as fabulous as he was last time I was with him, and I can’t wait to see him again this weekend.

I started my day with a workout, walked a few extra miles and finished with an awesome workout with Richard.  And on the way home, I loaded up on lean meats, produce and healthy snacks.   I exercised like a champ, and now it’s time to refocus on making healthy food choices (again.)

How are you workouts this week?  What’s for dinner?

What’s Happening Today

I’ve been doing some pretty interesting things since I arrived in L.A. like eating Pad Thai from the Thai Food truck (thank you my Curvy Nerd friend.)  I’ve also done some jogging in Beverly Hills (yes, it’s as beautiful as it seems on TV.)  But there’s more fun stuff happening today..

The Pad Thai is seriously delicious...

I’m also working out with Richard Simmons again for the first time in a few months, and I’m going to see some friends that I haven’t seen yet since I arrived.

I’ve also decided to send in an audition video/application for a certain weight-loss show that I mentioned on my blog last week.  After reading such positive responses from so many of you, I’ve decided that maybe some really good things could come from it.  I mean, I say it all the time, but I have a long way to go…Why not try?

I’m also excited about meeting up with Gail from Shrinking Sisters who is visting Beverly Hills this afternoon.  She was the first person I met at Fitbloggin’, and I adored her from the moment I met her! She’ll be joining me at Slimmons tonight so look for pictures later!

There’s a lot happening in my world right now, and it’s all good stuff.  Meanwhile, I’m off to enjoy those things so I’ll be back later.  How’s everyone else doing today?