Tag Archives: Weight-

Is Sparkling Water Bad After Weight-Loss Surgery?

I had one long stall pretty quickly after surgery, and, once again, the scale isn’t moving. I’m tracking my intake more closely now than I have been, but I’m also looking for things that I could or should be doing differently.

Sparkling water is my favorite beverage by far. Sometimes I drink flavored ones, but my absolute favorite drink is unflavored La Croix. I love it more than I used to love cake. There’s nothing more satisfying (in the way of food things) than starting the day or going home and enjoying a sparkling water.

Some people enjoy a glass of wine or a beer. All I want is a glass of bubbly…bubbly water.

Earlier this week a good friend who had lap band surgery was surprised to learn that I was drinking sparkling water at dinner. (I don’t usually drink anything during my meal, but I drink before it and after.)

She said that she saw someone put a carbonated beverage in a ziplock bag only to watch the bag expand due to the bubbles. She was told that the same thing could happen to our stomachs if we drink water. I immediately stopped drinking the sparkling water and started looking for answers.

I tried calling the dietitian I met with at my surgeon’s office, but they’ve never seemed interested in giving guidance beyond the 8 weeks after surgery. I hope she calls me back, but I asked people about it all day.

One of my co-workers, whose career is based on health and wellness, said that the difference between our bodies and a ziplock is that our bodies allow air to escape.

Everyone else I discussed this with recognized that it’s unhealthy to drink sodas (regular and diet,) and I agree. I haven’t had a soft drink of any kind since April 2, 2009. It’s been almost 8 years since I drank a Coke. Obviously, that garbage isn’t good for you, but does that same go for carbonated water?

Has anyone reading this had the gastric sleeve surgery? Were you told not to drink sparkling water?

Is sparkling water getting a bad rap because it’s unfairly being linked to soft drinks?

 

 

Hello, Normality

Last week was awesome. I felt good all week, and I am still feeling continued improvements on a daily basis. I went back to work last Monday, and being there made me feel so much better! It made me feel normal, which is something I had been craving lately.

kenlie-and-dadDad came into town on Tuesday. I was so happy to see him because it’s been almost a year since I was in Oklahoma. He was supposed to be in early afternoon, but due to delays he didn’t arrive until almost 7 pm. I worked until he arrived, then headed to the airport to pick him up once he landed. I didn’t realize how close my office is to the airport until last week, but that’s a good thing to know.

cafe-du-mondeI didn’t work Wednesday, so I could spend the day with Dad. We drove across the Causeway just because, and we had coffee at Cafe Du Monde every morning. Dad had beignets too, but oddly enough, I didn’t crave them at all. I seriously have not wanted anything sweet since I started the liquids phase prior to surgery, and that feels like a major win to me.

 

He met Michael the night he arrived, and we all drove to Mississippi to have dinner with Michael’s parents the following night. It was such a great evening, and it felt good to know that Dad really enjoyed his time with Michael’s family. Our dads chatted over dinner for hours, and I managed to eat two pieces of sushi.

kenlie-in-msI ordered a naruto roll, which was filled with spicy crab and wrapped in cucumber. I didn’t eat the cucumber, but I did manage to eat the inside of two pieces. I also ate a shrimp, a scallop and a few bites of zucchini that Michael and his mom shared with me.

We all laughed when we saw the picture we took together after dinner because Michael’s dad doesn’t smile in photos. Michael joked that catching his dad smiling in a photo is like seeing Big Foot. My mom and I are spending Thanksgiving with them, so maybe I’ll have to tell him jokes. I’ll just need to come up with a few funny ones first.

On Thursday I had to work, so I brought Dad to the office with me. My space was being renovated (because I have an awesome director who recognized that I needed more room,) but it was cool to show Dad where I work. I even tried out my new desk and chair while he was there. That afternoon I had to attend a networking thing, so Dad went to that with me too. I kept apologizing that we had to go to the meeting, but Dad actually enjoyed himself a lot. I think we both learned a few things too.

Later that evening Dad joined me for rehearsal at church. I’m a vocal leader on the worship team, and it was so good to be back in rehearsal with my people. Dad got to visit with my pastor for a few minutes, then I took him to Trader Joe’s for the first time. After that, Michael joined us at my place for dinner.

Dad flew back to Oklahoma on Friday morning. I dropped him off at the airport then headed into the office. When I got there my boss, who is also one of the best friends I’ve ever had, thought I had gone in to work, but my plan was to exercise. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of exercising, but she insisted that I exercise instead. Everyone in the office felt that way. (How cool is it to work in an uplifting environment that also has a state of the art gym on site?) I walked around the track because the treadmill still makes me nervous for some reason, then I worked.

By the end of the week I was beat, but I still had a weekend to enjoy. I spent Friday night at home, and friends stopped by for a few minutes. I spent Saturday with Mom, and we shopped in a town that’s about an hour away from each of us. I bought a pair of jeans that was a size smaller than I expected, and I bought a few other fall items that were on clearance. (Why pay full price when my size is, apparently, changing?)

On Sunday I lead worship at church for the first time in weeks, and it felt so good to be back. Singing is one of my passions, serving Jesus and one of my passions, and I love connecting people with Him. I missed doing it, and even though I was a little more tired than usual, I jumped right back in. The entire worship experience was awesome, and after that I spent the day with Michael’s family. This time they came to New Orleans, and we had a great day. We went to dinner last night, where I ate a few bites of delicious food. I also spent a lot of time talking and trying not to eat too quickly.

I’m happy to say that I tolerated the foods I tried all week. My weight-loss seems to be stalled, but there’s not much I can do about that, apart from being more active and practicing patience. I’m adding to my step count each day, but I know that I need to be more intentional about walking. The treadmill still makes me nervous, but I made an exercise date with a friend tomorrow. She’s going to meet me at work, and we’re going to walk together.

After a relaxing Monday, in which I planned out my week and some holiday events, I am heading back into the office tomorrow. I’m progressing enough that I’m starting to feel good about it, but I am still dealing with emotions. (More on that later.)

I greatly appreciate every kind and supportive comment and all of the prayers and encouragement while I was healing. If you took the time to be there for me, then I sincerely thank you.

Let’s hope this is the beginning of my newer, healthier life…

 

Gastric Sleeve Update: Psych Exam, Exercise and Processing My Feelings On All of It

I completed my psychological evaluation for surgical clearance today, and now all of the testing is complete. I’m seeing my doctor on Tuesday, at which point she will have to send in some additional paperwork. If all goes well I’ll be able to schedule a surgery date soon.

If I need to wait until after September to have it, which is a very real possibility, then I’ll plan to do it in January. Either way, I’m ready to know the timeline because I’m tired of thinking about it, talking about it, wondering about it, etc.

I’m also actively trying to shift my focus from my impending surgery because I’m tired of hearing everyone’s opinion about it. I know that I invited the opinions of others the moment I shared the news that I was exploring the process, and I did that for specific reasons.

Weight Loss Surgery is a big deal, and I didn’t want to hide the fact that I’m doing it. I don’t want it o be a secret; I just want people to understand that just because I’m not terrified doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the risks, the difficulty of the post-surgery and the potential for life-altering changes. I do appreciate the support, encouragement and testimonials I’ve heard from many of you, so keep those coming!

If my doctor thinks I should wait a few months to do it I’ll do that. If my doctor and the surgeon give me the go ahead I’ll do that. After a week or so of eating junk that I don’t usually eat (since I wasn’t sure when I’d get to do it again) t’m at peace about the process. It’s ridiculous to think that I ate doughnuts twice last week after eating only once or twice all year simply because of the impending changes. Thankfully, I kicked my own butt back into reality,  and I’m prepared to do whatever my doctor suggests because I want to set myself up to experience the utmost success.

My skin no longer hurts so much that it keeps me from exercising, sweating or moving. It was a rough period of about 7 weeks total, but for the last 7 or 8 days I’ve felt 99% okay. I’m still reminded of the areas that aren’t healed, but sitting down, standing up and stepping into the shower no longer brings me to tears like it did.

I’m preparing for a 5k that I’m doing with my boyfriend and friends on September 10th, so right now my focus is on cardio, cardio, cardio. They’ll all finish in under half an hour, but it’ll take me about 67 minutes. I’m okay with that because they’ll be waiting for me on the field inside the Superdome, where the race ends.

I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do, and now I have to wait. I’m more patient than most would expect, and I sincerely do want to do what my doctors think is best. Time flies, so I’m going to enjoy the next few days, weeks and months. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where my health is a year from now.

Until then…

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.

13901511_10210685765886939_6962036732669912970_n

 

 

My Problem with the Body Positive Movement

I’m plus-size, and I like to think I’m body positive. The term, which in my understanding refers to those of us who love ourselves and others even though we’re overweight, seems like a good thing. I believe it’s important to love and accept ourselves, but I’ve never been “accepted” by this particular movement.

Sure, I champion the rights of plus-size people whenever possible. I’ve spoken at national conferences, opined on the topic for every major TV network in the US and sat across from CEO’s and executives in the hopes of creating a more accepting, respectful society, and I’ve seen some major change over the years due to my willingness to be a positive part of change.

I weigh about 350 pounds, and I have the audacity to believe that I’m pretty great. Society tells me that I shouldn’t feel that way, which is why the Body Positive movement needs to exist. They just need to get a grip because right now it seems that so many are focused on fat acceptance that they simply don’t accept my desire to be accepted if I pursue better health.

This isn’t a new issue. A few years ago I faced incredible amounts of opposition from the most notable fat acceptance organization in the US because I didn’t necessarily want to stay fat. I’m seeing the same sentiment again on Facebook and Twitter, and I think it’s judgmental and ridiculous to believe that someone must stay obese (and potentially unhealthy) simply to be accepted.

Losing weight has been challenging for me, but I’m determined to make healthy strides regardless of what shows on the scale. Let me be very clear for a moment – the only thing that has been more daunting than losing 200 + pounds is learning to love and accept myself. I did that, and now I’d like to see my body restored as well because I just don’t feel as good at 350 pounds as I did at 300 pounds.

I currently weigh less than I did at 27, but y blood pressure is higher now than it was at that time. My size affects me more than it did 7 years ago, and I feel a bit achy these days due to skin issues that wouldn’t exist if I were not obese. I also know that I’m wearing out my body more quickly than I should be because my body has to work harder because of the extra weight.

These are things I’ve known as long as I’ve been overweight, and there’s nothing wrong with changing them. And changing them shouldn’t mean that I’m no longer acceptable to a movement that allegedly exists to combat intolerance.

Here’s the reality. It’s been a long time since I required validation from society. Society sucks, and I don’t need to be accepted by this movement. I just think that it could be such a positive force if the leaders would come together and truly understand tolerance rather than being tolerant of people who are just like them and no one else. (This is a problem in every major movement in the media right now.)

I love my life and myself more than I ever have before, which is all the more reason for me to spend a little time tracking my food intake and exercising. Fueling my body with healthy things (at least sometimes) is a good thing, and regardless of whether a person or an entire movement takes issue with it I’ll still be happy in the long run because I did what was best for me.

 

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.

 

 

Doctors, Weight Watchers and Friends…

It’s been a long couple of days, but I’m feeling thankful for it right now. My boyfriend and I had dinner with my long time friend, Shannon, her husband and their adorable baby girl. She’s 12 weeks old, and I already love her.

I spent the majority of the day at my new doctor’s office yesterday, and I went back in for blood work this morning. Those who know me know how hesitant I was to seek out a primary physician because it hasn’t always been a good experience for me.

Now that I have health insurance, which is such a relief, there’s no excuse to avoid the doctor when I’m in pain. I went in to get some help with my skin irritation yesterday, and I was met by a friendly, empathetic staff and a compassionate, knowledgable doctor. I cannot express the relief I feel now knowing that I have a doctor to go to when I’m sick.

We talked about my weight. (How could we not?) We just talked about everything else as well. She asked why I waited so long to get help with my skin, and I explained that doctor visits are usually different than my visit to her office. She prescribed meds that I picked up last night, and I’m hopeful that it will help me heal over the next 10 days.

My blood pressure was elevated, which has never been an issue until lately. I’m getting older, but I’m far too young to face high blood pressure. Of course, it’s not a surprise because I’m carrying so much excess weight. I’ve also carried a lot of stress this year since Mom’s health issues.

After talking for quite some time she asked me if I had ever considered bariatric surgery, and I explained that it was never an option for me. Financially, it wasn’t plausible because it’s so pricey without insurance, and for a long time I was opposed anyway. Now that I know that my insurance will cover it I’m going to consider it.

Weight-loss surgery is such a huge, life-changing step, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I could do something like this, but it’s certainly worth exploring. I know several people who had the gastric sleeve surgery and were incredibly successful.

I also went to the eye doctor (because again, it’s been a while since I had health insurance,) and my eye doctor is from New York. He lived only a few blocks from my old place, so we had a lot to chat about while he checked my eyes. I definitely can’t wait to get my new glasses on Friday, but I chose to use  my favorite frames that I had already. I’ll pick a new pair later this week when my eyes aren’t dilated.

I have to see my primary doctor again in two weeks, and I’m looking forward to feeling much better than I felt when I walked in yesterday. I can’t stand taking medicine, but I’m thankful for it right now.

I’ll head to Weight Watcher tomorrow, which should be a decent weigh-in. Right now I’m tired, so I’m going to curl up under the blankets and sleep.

The Number on the Scale

I’ve always been a fan of writing things out on paper. Whether I’m taking notes in my Bible, writing out grocery lists or making goals I always prefer doing it on paper.

When I spent some time with my family this week I came across a goal I had written out years ago. I left it in my room at Mom’s house, and it’s been a while since I really stopped to think about the hope I placed on that piece of paper years ago.

I also noted the date (almost exactly 4 years ago) when I recognized how hard my personal weight journey felt inside my head.

lose weight

At the time I weighed about 15 pounds more than the number I wrote down, but now, four years later, I weigh almost 70 pounds more than that number. I’m going to be really transparent for a minute; it sucks.

I remember sitting at the desk thinking about how impossibly difficult it felt to lose the necessary 15 or 16 pounds to reach that weight. I just The truth is it seems a lot harder now because it will take a lot more effort, but I think it feels possible. I realize that to most this number still seems high, and I know it is. I also know how awesome and accomplished I felt when I reached it, so it matters to me.

People with good intentions, naive though they may be, often say “stop focusing on the numbers,” and that just doesn’t work in my mind. I never obsessed over reaching a certain weight by a certain date or anything, but I do need to see the numbers moving in the right direction. It motivates me to see the numbers inching down, and now that I’m back with Weight Watchers I’m more aware of it than I’ve been in years.

The good news is that I’ve learned some things about myself and how my mind works since the day I put that number on paper. I’ve learned that I like routine. It’s good for me to know what time I’ll wake up, when I’ll exercise, when I’ll go out, when I’ll be home. (I need to work on the latter. I spend far too much time away from home, but that’s improving.) I always felt like routines were boring, but now that I love my work, my friends and my home it’s great to know that I can look forward to certain things on certain days.

Monday – work, exercise and dinner with my gentleman friend

Tuesday – work, exercise after work, then spend the evening with friends/gentleman friend

Wednesday – late day at work. I go in later than usual, but I’m still home in time to enjoy the evening.

Thursday – work, exercise, band practice for the worship team at church

Friday – rest day

Saturday – prayer with friends at church, followed by free time

Sunday – church, lunch with friends (most weeks,) followed by free time

There’s a lot of time in my schedule to add in exercise, and I could do meal prep too. I’ve never been a fan of eating leftovers, so I think it’s important to come up with ideas to make healthy and easy lunches and dinners.

I used to beat myself up when I saw the 284 photo, but lately I’ve been feeling a renewed hope. (I think it’s because I’m making an effort again.)

I don’t like the way I look in photos right now, but I’m not going to stop taking them. I don’t like how hard it is shop for clothes again, but I’m still going to do it.

I don’t like the fact that I let myself veer so far off track, but I’m happier than I was back then. I’m healthier in so many areas of my life than I was at that time, which means it’s not too late to do this.

 

 

 

 

Motivation Monday

Monday was my least favorite day of the week until last month when my gentleman friend started exercising with me after work. Mondays are kind of long, but they’re much more enjoyable now that I’m in a healthy routine.

The guy and I workout at different gyms, but he lives close enough to me that it’s easy to join me for a workout at the gym upstairs. I want to start jumping in the pool after our workouts, but we’re usually ready to eat dinner by the time we’re done.

We eat together a few times a week, and the majority of meals are at my place because I love to cook. He’ll eat anything I serve too, which makes it easy to want to feed him. Ha…

I’m working toward some pretty specific fitness goals that I”ll discuss here more in July or August, and it’s amazing to have his support, in addition to the encouragement I receive from my family, friends and co-workers.

I’m in a healthy place right now, and I want to continue improving in this area. I feel incredible after a sweaty workout, and sweaty selfies are still my favorite. (I suppose I should take some more of them.)

YMCA New Orleans

Gaining control of my weight is so hard, but I constantly remind myself that I can do all things through Christ. Seriously, I can’t even express how much my life has changed since I realized that God loves me and desires a healthy and abundant life for me.

It’s a long road, and I suppose it won’t end until life does. I’m okay with that now. The resentment I felt for far too long has been replaced by resilience. I know that I need to stay humble and accountable, and I am thankful for the loving people in my life who understand and empathize with that.

I have more energy than I did a month ago, and I’m looking forward to seeing more improvement in that area as I increase my level of activity.

Now it’s a new day, and it’s time to hit the ground running…(err, walking briskly…You know what I mean.)

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.