The Highs and Lows of Losing 100 Pounds

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By: , – Kenlie Tiggeman
11/11/2011 6:00 AM   :  180 comments   :  35,135 Views

Editor's Note (Nicole Nichols): I had the pleasure of meeting Kenlie at the IDEA fitness convention in L.A. this past August. As I learned more about her, I was so inspired by her accomplishments and how she turned what was a very difficult and embarrassing situation into something positive. I wanted to share her story with all of you, so I asked Kenlie to write a guest blog. I hope you find it as real and motivational as I did.
 
By Kenlie Tiggeman
 
I used to dread simple tasks like going to the grocery store and walking to the mailbox.   I was constantly overwhelmed with anxiety when I knew I'd have to ride in someone else's car, so I avoided it as much as possible.  I bought two plane tickets for every flight I had to take because I knew that one seat wouldn't be enough for me, and I felt shame every time I had to walk back into a rental car company to upgrade because I couldn't fit into a mid-size car.  But that shame was mild in comparison to shame I felt when the weight of my body broke the driver's seat of my own car.  
 
I know it's my own fault that my small frame grew to almost 400 pounds. I was disgusted with myself—disgusted with the fact that I couldn't go to dinner without asking for a table instead of a booth because it was obvious that I wouldn't fit into the latter.  My life, which was so good in some ways, was completely overshadowed by my body.  And while people looked at me in disgust, no one was more repulsed by me than I was.  
 
So I changed my ways and lost 100 pounds. Losing it made everything in my life easier and more fun.  I was happier than I had ever been! But in reality, 100 pounds down is just the tip of the iceberg for me—I'm still obese.
 
If you saw me walking down the street (or in an airport terminal), you wouldn't know all that I've accomplished in my journey so far. You wouldn't know that I work out five days a week (sometimes more) and eat mostly healthy, unprocessed foods. You wouldn't know that I'm down 10 clothing sizes or that I can jog up several flights of stairs before I break a sweat. That I can swim over a mile and a half without thinking about taking a break, or that I have killer good balance. You wouldn't know any of these things by looking at me now.
 
Instead, if you saw me, you’d probably assume that I watch TV every day for hours on end. You certainly wouldn’t guess that I’m training for a triathlon or that I love climbing stairs and sweating it out on the elliptical.  Maybe you’d judge me or pity me or ignore me, or maybe you’d single me out in a crowd and tell me that I’m too fat.
 
Okay, so SparkPeople members are clearly too awesome to think things like that, but it happens.  In fact, all of these things have happened to me even after experiencing weight loss in the triple digits.
 
Last April, as I ran (yes, ran) to a gate to catch a connecting flight, I was singled out by a gate agent who told me that I was "too fat to fly."  The story made national (and international) news stirring a lot of unwelcome emotions inside my head.  To that gate agent, I wasn’t the healthy, athletic person that I‘m turning into according to my doctor’s chart.  I was just a fat girl who didn’t deserve the same treatment as skinny passengers. 

Many faceless Internet users hid behind the anonymity of their computer screens as they spewed hurtful and hateful remarks about me when the news story broke. Apparently they thought that negative remarks would motivate me to take better care of myself.
 
After the media frenzy died down in late May I started facing the cold, hard truth about myself.   I realized that what others thought of me didn’t matter nearly as much as what I thought of me.  I spent the next several months getting honest with myself.  At 30 years old, I was reminded once again that I had spent the last decade lying to myself and everyone around me, trying to convince them—and myself—that I was happy and that I was worthy of their admiration. But secretly, I felt like a complete waste of space and hoped no one would notice. 
 
People say that being overweight is a symptom of something else, and I definitely see the truth behind their wisdom.  But I could not even begin to broach those reasons without first recognizing that living in a morbidly obese body had become a problem entirely on its own.
 
The weight-loss industry wants us to believe that losing weight is easy.  We see billboards promising surgical answers to our prayers and commercials made by "experts" that tell us that we don’t have to exercise or change the way we eat to lose weight. But the truth is, there’s no pill or surgery or magic diet fairy dust that can change our lives for us.  The truth is that losing weight (and the method we use to accomplish it) isn’t nearly as complex and difficult physiologically as it is mentally.  And changing what's inside our heads is the hardest part.
 
Do you know how much courage and self-worth and determination it takes to stare at a reflection in the mirror that disgusts you and decide that you deserve better?   We all know what we’re supposed to do to lose weight (eat less, move more, and all that). But practicing restraint and exhibiting willpower when everything around you seems to be fighting against you on a daily basis is incredibly difficult.  And doing it long-term?  Well, sometimes it feels nearly impossible! In my experience so far, it takes hard work, patience, consistent effort and self-acceptance
 
On my blog (alltheweigh.com), you’ll often hear me say that "We have one life, and I want to make mine extraordinary."  And after taking steps in that direction for an entire year, I found myself in a deep rut of monotony.  I was so proud to say that I had lost over 100 pounds (still proud, by the way) though I realized that I was ashamed of my inability to finish what I had started.   My limited success had turned stale, and I was frustrated.  For some reason, losing 100 pounds didn't seem tough (though it did when I started!)  But 200 pounds?!  How am I supposed to do that?!
 
Now it’s fall, and I’ve changed some things in my daily life and created some new habits.  I replaced processed foods with whole foods, and I eat more fruits and vegetables in one day than I used to eat in three days.  I joined a weight loss support group in my new city because I know I can always find encouragement and fresh ideas there. I also joined a new-to-me gym complete with fancy machines that I’m still learning how to use, and most importantly, I've readjusted my attitude.   And this combination seems to be working so far.  I’ve lost 15 pounds in the last 4 weeks, and I feel like I'm back on the right track.
 
Losing weight takes effort and sometimes discomfort, but it’s not impossible.  Sometimes things get in the way but I have two choices:  I can choose to forgive myself when I fall and keep reaching for the goal, or I can choose to give up.  For me, giving up is not an option.   I’ve decided that it’s okay to whine, and it’s okay to get mad as long as I get over it.  It’s okay to be insecure or to doubt myself, and it’s okay to wonder how in the heck I’m going to do what seems so impossible one day at a time.
 
My journey may have started over two years ago, but it’s going to last a lifetime.  Losing the first 100 pounds has been incredible.  And though I daydream about it often, I can’t imagine how amazing I’ll feel when I've lost the second hundred, but I’m ready to find out.   And no one is going to stop me…not even myself.
 
Kenlie has documented her weight-loss journey since day one on her blog, www.alltheweigh.com.  She shares her thoughts on her personal struggles and accomplishments related to obesity, her evolving relationship with food and fitness, dating and self-acceptance every day.  Join her as she attempts to lose the next 100 pounds, and watch her go "All the Weigh."

Follow Kenlie on Twitter, too: @AllTheWeigh.





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Comments

  • CBEYER78
    180
    found this blog this morning and could totally relate!! I have lost 93 lbs and still have 60 to go! - 8/3/2013   1:09:06 PM
  • 179
    It was a pleasure to read your story and I'm glad you talked about how people who don't know you, don't know what fitness accomplishments you've made, let alone that you've lost significant weight. I have overheard people comment under their breath "like she should be eathing that," etc. People need to stop judging and making assumptions about others and start paying attention to being a better person themselves. I have seen larger women far surpass the stamina of skinny people in fitness classes I've attended. I applaud you for making this journey for yourself and on your own terms. Rock on girl!!! - 3/14/2013   10:24:54 AM
  • 178
    What an inspiring story. I have just started on my journey to lose 105 lbs and your experience so far is a great motivation. I've bookmarked your website your and will follow your progress and in your footsteps. - 3/13/2013   6:52:39 PM
  • KCULP4
    177
    Kenlie you are an inspiration, and on top of that you are ADORABLE! Not just your cute face, but your soul and spirit are just so charming and sweet. Remember not to be too hard on yourself, though, and to call on help when you need it. People are there for you; don't bear the whole burden of your journey alone. Thanks for sharing your story. - 3/12/2013   12:16:20 PM
  • 176
    Kenlie - you are an amazing woman who has learned many of the great secrets to losing it and keeping it off. Thank you for sharing your story and enduring many of the hardships that come from such tough moments such as all the media attention and the airport incident.

    Keep on being the wonderful inspiration that you are. You are a role model for all to follow. :) - 3/11/2012   9:29:19 PM
  • NJ_HOU
    175
    Thanks for sharing this ! Your attitude has been wonderful ! I definitely admire your progress ! btw, I too had a similar experience but WAY not as brutal as yours. A supervisor intervened at once, i sat down..and pushed the arm rests ..voila the vocal swastika swaette, just shut up at that point who cares about apologies when a person berates you on the plane i want to know . doesn't miss my traffic anyway . Congratulations on your achievements !! - 2/29/2012   2:11:16 PM
  • WILLOWWEEP
    174
    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!! You look fantastic. I have lost nearly a hundred pounds, but those who see me would not know it. You have inspired me immensely.!!!!!! - 2/27/2012   5:40:46 PM
  • 173
    I could've written this.. In fact, I did write this in my Sparkblog last year. ;) I've documented everything from losing 130 pounds, stalling, still being judged because I'm big, and forging ahead on my way to over 200 pounds. I knew I wasn't alone, but it's different to actually read someone else's words that have been your own.

    Every day is filled with our choices.
    Jocelyn - 2/26/2012   9:45:15 PM
  • RAHMANRAZAK
    172
    Keep going! Dont stop.
    - 2/26/2012   4:38:07 AM
  • 171
    Kenzie....its so neat seeing you on spark. I've been following your blog at alltheweigh for almost 2 years now. What a small world. lol - 2/25/2012   3:28:00 PM
  • SEPTLEFTY
    170
    That is so good - 2/23/2012   8:13:02 AM
  • 169
    Kenlie, you are AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL, & INSPIRING!! I cried reading this because it made me aware of judgment and how I have judged people by looking at them, just as I believe they judge me when they see me. It is wrong, and as a Christian, I shouldn't be that way. I won't be that way anymore!
    Keep up the great work, and I will be checking out your other blogs for more inspiration! Thank you for sharing - 2/23/2012   7:11:21 AM
  • 168
    If you have the time - could you email me privately ? I have at least 100 lbs to lose and am having a difficult time :( - 1/5/2012   3:40:22 PM
  • 167
    Very motivating :) - 11/23/2011   4:07:41 PM
  • 166
    As i read your story it was as if I were reading my own words......I have 250 pounds to lose and deal with chronic back and knee pain and i am so thankful that you have shared your story with us!!!!!!!! - 11/23/2011   3:06:00 AM
  • BLUESPARKLES
    165
    Kenlie, this is one of the most moving and inspirational articles I've read!! I look forward to reading your blog, and I wish you continued success and happiness. - 11/22/2011   2:54:28 PM
  • 164
    You look awesome and what an inspiring story. - 11/21/2011   9:31:16 PM
  • 163
    WOW. thank you - 11/20/2011   12:32:21 PM
  • 162
    I saw this last night and did not have time to read it then so I book marked it. So glad I did! Congrats on your weight loss and how far you have come! I look forward to reading your blog too. As for what happened with South West...I have no words to tell you how upsetting that is for me to even read, I can't imagine how it was for you, your mom and Barbara. I wont fly SW anytime soon, if at all now because of that.

    - 11/19/2011   12:46:33 PM
  • 161
    Thank you for your blog; I often wonder why I couldn't find it within me to lose the weight on the way up the scale, not down. I had accepted my size (just avoid mirrors). For me, the change had to occur between my ears. Thank you for the courage to share your story; you look wonderful and so happy! You WILL achieve your next goal. You inspire and motivate us all. - 11/18/2011   1:01:49 PM
  • 160
    Thank you for writing about life's battles. You make me think that I can do it too. - 11/18/2011   12:43:55 PM
  • 159
    Your are an amazing woman. I want to share your story with my family and friends -- to encourage them too. God bless you!! - 11/18/2011   9:13:11 AM
  • JPM892
    158
    Thank you for the encouragement! - 11/17/2011   11:15:08 PM
  • 157
    Awesome post. I needed to see this today! - 11/17/2011   3:34:43 PM
  • 156
    Keep up the GREAT work Kenlie. Iam rooting for ya !!!!!!!! - 11/17/2011   12:42:21 PM
  • SIERRASMOMMY07
    155
    Wow this is an amazing story. Thanks so much for sharing it. This story has given me motivation to get myself on track and do what I am supposed to be doing. Congrats on all the weight you have lost!! - 11/17/2011   8:53:49 AM
  • ATITONCEAGAIN81
    154
    What an amazing and inspirational story. It's sad that most people can't recognize all your accomplishments. They judge you without knowing all the strides you have made. That's the problem with judgements. People don't know you well enough to judge you. Good luck on reaching your goal! - 11/16/2011   9:24:50 PM
  • 153
    How amazing are you? Keep going!! I am looking forward to you reaching your goal

    - 11/16/2011   3:18:31 PM
  • 152
    You are SO amazing, and really an inspiration! I wish you all that you are working for and more. You look amazing and I know you feel so much better. What a wonderful gift for yourself, your friends and your family! - 11/16/2011   11:34:42 AM
  • ROGERSBABE1
    151
    All I can say is: WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! What an inspiration! I look forward to celebrating with you as you continue your journey! - 11/16/2011   9:13:31 AM
  • 150
    Thank you for sharing your journey. While I was reading this, I recognized some of myself in your words. I haven't yet really looked at myself in the mirror, as I am sure I will not like what I see, and while I have already started my own journey (26 pounds gone so far), I really do need to look at myself and know that I am worth it. - 11/16/2011   9:04:02 AM
  • 149
    This is GREAT! I'm saddened by the prejudices people still carry when they don't even know you or about your life. Misconceptions are so deceiving. I am so encouraged and I do understand what you mean about those who do not know how much work you have already put in. I'm forgetting the Misconceptions of others and keep on the path to my NOW VICTORY! You are Beautiful and Truly a Motivation! Keep Up All this Work You are Doing. You've Already Won! God Bless You Richly! - 11/16/2011   2:41:09 AM
  • 148
    This article is great. It is a nice reminder of the struggles all of us face on the road called weight loss. I checked out the blog she writes and it is very cool.

    MJ- - 11/15/2011   6:36:09 PM
  • DOGMAMMA3
    147
    Wow, you are awesome! Amazing story. Brought me to tears, when after you lost so much weight, you were singled out like that. I am so glad you persevered and are continuing on your path to better health! You are an inspiration to me on my winding journey. Thank you for writing! - 11/15/2011   12:58:13 PM
  • 146
    Thanks so much for sharing!Very motivational!!! Keep moving towards your victory! - 11/15/2011   12:55:53 PM
  • 145
    You did an amazing job. I can do this too. - 11/15/2011   11:23:52 AM
  • 144
    Wow, what a difference a 100lbs. makes in someone's happiness. You look really happy and healthy. As a matter of fact from your current photo, you don't look like you have another 100 to lose. I need to lose over 200lbs. also and it's sometimes is enough to make you want to give up. But I know I can't and won't and stories like yours make me stay even more motivated. I keep reminding myself, it's one day at a time.
    Thanks for your wonderful story and I wish you all the luck in the world. - 11/15/2011   10:15:20 AM
  • 143
    You are excellent! Don't forget to keep healthy! You cheer me up so strongly! - 11/15/2011   9:00:59 AM
  • 142
    You are amazing, beautiful and such an inspiration. Keep it up. Great blog. - 11/15/2011   5:55:32 AM
  • 141
    Congrats on what you have accomplished this year!!!! In just one year, you have made drastic changes in how you live your life. You will never be the same now that you know you can do it. I am just at the beginning and its been hard to believe that I can actually change. Hearing how you have changed your life is truly inspiring. - 11/14/2011   11:15:44 PM
  • 140
    Very inspiring! - 11/14/2011   10:07:13 PM
  • 139
    Congrats on your 100lb weight lose goal.
    keep up the great work. Thank you for
    Being a great inspiration. - 11/14/2011   9:39:39 PM
  • 138
    What an inspiration. Thank you for opening my eyes! - 11/14/2011   5:32:50 PM
  • 137
    Congratulations on your weight loss journey. Keep up the great work! - 11/14/2011   4:26:37 PM
  • DLMJKM
    136
    Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us. You are an inspiration to all of us. Keep up the good work! - 11/14/2011   1:35:17 PM
  • 135
    What a great blog, I am so inspired by you. Good luck on the 2nd hundred pound journey, I know you will make it! - 11/14/2011   1:00:51 PM
  • BROOKESAT
    134
    WOW!! so inspiring i have a little less then a 100 pounds to lose and i feel the same way about it. i am almost at 20 lbs down and then i think i have to do this 4 more times!!!! But i am also worth it and i can do it!!!! thank you for the inspiration and keep up the awesome work! - 11/14/2011   12:56:58 PM
  • 133
    Thanks for sharing your story. - 11/14/2011   9:58:43 AM
  • MISHA58
    132
    Wow thanks for sharing your blog. It is so true this journey is not always easy, but we need to keep picking ourselves up and continue the fight. Thanks for the inspiration. - 11/14/2011   8:13:54 AM
  • 131
    Totally enjoyed your blog, I needed to read something like this today. I wish you all the best . - 11/14/2011   6:59:19 AM

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