The Highs and Lows of Losing 100 Pounds


By: , – Kenlie Tiggeman
11/11/2011 6:00 AM   :  180 comments   :  43,319 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 (, 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,  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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  • 130
    Same as everyone else has said, you have come a long ways and congratulations on all you have accomplished! Amazing! - 11/14/2011   3:26:31 AM
  • 129
    To the person at the airport gate: What YOU say and do says way more about YOU than it could ever say about anyone else.
    - 11/14/2011   12:41:38 AM
  • 128
    YOU GO GIRL CONGRATS - 11/13/2011   10:40:07 PM
  • 127
    I'm speechless. You look awesome. What a transformation. Congratulations on your success. Stories like yours is what keeps me going everyday in my journey to getting healthy and fit. Thank you so much for sharing your story. - 11/13/2011   10:07:44 PM
  • 126
    Your story is a true inspiration!!! Congrats on your weight loss. - 11/13/2011   9:55:39 PM
  • 125
    WOW! Thanks for sharing that with us. - 11/13/2011   9:46:50 PM
  • 124
    Your story is so inspiring, even to someone who has been in maintenance for 3 years. Keep up the amazing work! - 11/13/2011   8:56:47 PM
  • 123
    Thank you for sharing! First thing I noticed is that you're smile in the second photo is more genuine! I am a therapist and tell my clients that the messages we tell ourselves is far more powerful than the messages others tells us, and I work to help them build positive self statements. Sounds like you have found a way to do that!!! Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring others!!! - 11/13/2011   8:29:10 PM
    You are awesome. What an inspiration! - 11/13/2011   8:10:19 PM
  • 121
    Absolutely Awesome! And you have determined how to continue the second half of your journey successfully. Your story is an inspiration. - 11/13/2011   7:31:14 PM
  • 120
    Thanks for sharing your journey with others. You encourage us/me to keep going when we don't think we can. You are awesome! - 11/13/2011   6:18:58 PM
  • 119
    Thank you for your story. I am moved to recognise how ones self esteem can be bolstered and battered by other people's perceptions on our body size.
    You rock! You are awesome! - 11/13/2011   5:46:31 PM
  • 118
    You are amazing and you are a winner. Keep up the positive attitude. - 11/13/2011   5:40:06 PM
  • 117
    You are an inspiration! Keep it up!! - 11/13/2011   4:24:58 PM
    I read your blog entry about your SW Airlines debacle. How horrible for you! I happen to love SW and their normally enthusiastic attitude, but what happened to you is beyond defense. I hope you do fly them again because I know most people at SW are wonderful.

    You are totally awesome, and with your attitude, I know you'll make your goal. I wish I lived near you so I could get to know you better. If you ever come to Boulder, CO, send me an email (via SparkPeople) and we'll get together! In the meantime, best of luck with your training for the triathlon - you're already beyond what most people will ever accomplish in the way of athletic events! - 11/13/2011   3:33:33 PM
  • 115
    Fantastic story and attitude. Keep up the good work. You Can Do It. - 11/13/2011   3:10:51 PM
  • 114
    thanks for sharing your story!!! it was not only very inspiring, but, also gave me the motivation I need to know that losing 100 pounds is not impossible, as you did it. I already lost 30 pounds on my journey and want to lose another 30 but, as you say, i find myself looking only at the numbers. but again, thanks for the story and i will keep it in my mind the next time i doubt my chances of losing more - 11/13/2011   2:24:40 PM
  • 113
    Thanks for sharing you look amazing! Such a inspiration and so motivational! Good Job! - 11/13/2011   12:46:55 PM
  • 112
    Thank you for sharing your story. I love the fact that there is a place (Spark People) where you can connect with folks just like you. When I read the line about losing 100lbs didn't seem hard enough I totally got what you were saying. I'm down 85lbs and I've gotten lots of positive attention from family, friends and coworkers but to me that only feels like the beginning. And the issues with how I looked heavy have shifted to how I look now. (I actually think my face looks weird "skinny"). It is so true for me that forgiving myself and loving myself has been so important for keeping me going. And knowing that you (all of you) are out there taking small steps forward (and sometimes backwards) just like me. Thank you! - 11/13/2011   11:30:05 AM
  • 111
    You are an inspiration--what an accomplishment for you!!
    - 11/13/2011   8:15:44 AM
    You have a very inspirational story. Congratulations on your 100+ weight loss! I've been reading your blog, and I think that you are a very good writer. I'm sorry people have been so mean to you over your weight. - 11/13/2011   7:52:25 AM
  • 109
    Recognizing that you are on a lifelong journey is more than half the battle. You have a great attitude and I have no doubt that you will continue to succeed!
    - 11/13/2011   7:47:48 AM
  • 108
    thank you for the inspiration! and congrats on the weight loss! - 11/13/2011   5:19:07 AM
  • 107
    Awesome! Way to go! - 11/13/2011   1:25:59 AM
  • 106
    Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing this w/us! I have over 100 lbs myself to lose and my dh over 200. After reading your very inspirational and motivational blog, I know that he and I can both do this as well, so long as we set our minds to doing so! Thank you again and God bless! - 11/13/2011   12:58:04 AM
  • 105
    You are AWESOME! And that's a beautiful photo of you, too. Thanks for the reminder to never, ever, ever judge a book by its cover. My mind has a mind of its own and it can still generate whacko thoughts, alas. - 11/12/2011   11:29:35 PM
  • 104
    Great post Kenlie!! For those of us who also have 100+ lbs to lose, it's just great hearing your story. BTW... you're a wonderful writer!!! Something that helps me no become overwhelmed with the total weight I need to lose is to instead concentrate on short segments of success. Just one week at a time and it does add up. Of course, you already know that!! haha! Thanks again and go get 'em!!! - 11/12/2011   9:38:39 PM
  • LADY114
    Way to go! Keep up the great work! - 11/12/2011   8:55:23 PM
  • 102
    Loved reading your intelligent and inspiring story. Awesome!. I too have lost over 100 lbs. Although I am at goal, I vividly remember what it was like and wish you all the best. I am sure you will succeed. You go!!
    - 11/12/2011   8:19:21 PM
  • 101
    em>244 /em> em>243 /em> em>345 /em> em>242 /em> em>250 /em>
    KENLIE, you are AMAZING !

    em>304 /em> for sharing

    em>306 /em>


    em>247 /em> em>220 /em>
    - 11/12/2011   6:14:33 PM
  • 100
    Thank you for sharing your journey. I found it very inspirational. Thank you. - 11/12/2011   4:54:42 PM
  • 99
    Thank you for sharing your experience, it helps me to motivate me and keep my goals in sight. I've lost 46 pounds so far, and still have another 76 pounds I need to lose. Good luck and keep up the good work. - 11/12/2011   2:44:09 PM
  • 98
    Thank you for sharing. Your story moved me and wish you the best of luck in this never ending journey. - 11/12/2011   2:29:37 PM
  • 97
    Congratulations on all the success you've achieved in the first leg of your journey, as well as gaining the tools and power to continue on. I know you have it in you to see it through because every bit of your blog also spoke to my own experiences. Thank you for sharing your learning and your story. - 11/12/2011   2:24:54 PM
  • 96
    thank you for sharing your story! losing 100 lbs. is an amazing accomplishment and your story is motivating and inspiring! i've lost my first 10 of 70! i always have to keep my attitude in check because it is difficult to go on this journey when you're not in the right mind set. - 11/12/2011   2:01:50 PM
  • 95
    Thank you for sharing, your incredible journey! I know, from the bottom of my heart, that you WILL accomplish whatever you set out to do, because YOU WANT TO!!!! Thank you again! - 11/12/2011   1:41:51 PM
  • 1FRESH1
    Wow, what an amazing story. I wish nothing but the best for you as you work towards meeting all of your goals. You are a fabulous source of inspiration. Thank you for sharing! - 11/12/2011   12:52:43 PM
  • 93
    You look amazing and should be very proud. My daughter looks a lot like you. She weighed about 400 and just hit under 300, and still going. You are both my heros! - 11/12/2011   12:44:46 PM
    Its amazing what starts to happen when you get your head in the right place. Keep up the great work!! You are an inspiration :0) - 11/12/2011   11:47:52 AM
  • 91
    you are great.
    I was in bad need to hear such a story.
    you give me power to restart again my journey to a good life.
    thank you so much. - 11/12/2011   11:43:23 AM
  • 90
    When you wrote "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", it brought forth such a strong emotion in me! Regardless of the amount of weight we need to lose, your words have inspired me to use my gifts of determination and courage to lose my excess weight. After reading your story, I feel more confident that I, too, will be successful. You see, this is just my first week with Spark People and I have such a feeling of positivity! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! - 11/12/2011   11:23:47 AM
  • 89
    Congrats! Let's keep it up. We can do it! - 11/12/2011   10:21:46 AM
  • 88
    Bless your heart, Hon, for getting off 100#. I can't imagine being over 400# since when I got to 214# and joined Sparks my back was killing me, not to mention the heat rash I had under my bra straps. So glad you turned things around. Read "WHY WE GET FAT AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT" by Gary Taubes. He researched for five years and the book is so helpful. - 11/12/2011   8:25:37 AM
  • 87
    I relate so much to your story. I have been through the same struggles. I have lost 200 lbs. now. After trying and yo-yoing for over 35 years I finally figured out the psychology of weight loss. Keep up the journey. - 11/12/2011   8:21:41 AM
  • 86
    You are such an inspiration. Attitude will get you to where you want to be - 11/12/2011   8:12:49 AM
  • 85
    You are awesome. Don't worry about what anybody else thinks. People who spew hate are never, ever worth it. Think how small their lives and minds are and how big your life and your mind are. I know you will go all the weigh!!! - 11/12/2011   7:19:35 AM
  • 84
    Your story is not just inspirational, it's motivational - thank you so much for sharing it - 11/12/2011   4:24:35 AM
  • 83
    Your story is one of the best I have read I have read quite a few. I have 200 pounds to lose. Have bad knees and back I am 66 years old. You are a hero to me. I have lost large amount of weigh in the past. But need to continue, losing until I reach my goal weigh. My top weight was 486, lost down to 303 but mentally was not ready to lose below 303 pounds I started gaining weight once again. Went up to 350 lost down to 330 and found Spark people that was 2004. I am just now ready to lose weight once again after 6 or more years of yo yo n. Mentally I just was not ready to lose weight. But now I must lose the weight due to the fact I need both knees replaced. Want to be under 150 pounds, when that operation is set up by the doctor. Your blog, has given me encouragement. Thank You. Aunt_Bee_1945BK
    To day 11 - 11 - 11 I weigh the same as I did when I first joined spark people in 2004. The one thing I am thankful of is that I now longer weigh 486 pounds. That is a great accomplishment over the years..That I am pleased that I mentally set a high limit of 350 pound if I had not I may have gained back up to my top weight of 486. Pleased to be back at 330 but will scream and shout when I break that 300 pound mark 299 my next big goal. 130 for my low weight. - 11/12/2011   1:15:59 AM
  • 82
    You go, Girl, ALL THE WAY. With that attitude you can't help but make it. - 11/11/2011   11:58:43 PM
  • 81
    Every Body deserves respect. Keep telling your story! - 11/11/2011   11:29:05 PM

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