The Highs and Lows of Losing 100 Pounds

By , Kenlie Tiggeman
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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WOW. thank you Report
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.

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. Report
Thank you for writing about life's battles. You make me think that I can do it too. Report
Your are an amazing woman. I want to share your story with my family and friends -- to encourage them too. God bless you!! Report
Thank you for the encouragement! Report
Awesome post. I needed to see this today! Report
Keep up the GREAT work Kenlie. Iam rooting for ya !!!!!!!! Report
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!! Report
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! Report
How amazing are you? Keep going!! I am looking forward to you reaching your goal

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! Report
All I can say is: WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! What an inspiration! I look forward to celebrating with you as you continue your journey! Report
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. Report
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! Report
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- Report
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! Report
Thanks so much for sharing!Very motivational!!! Keep moving towards your victory! Report
You did an amazing job. I can do this too. Report
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. Report
You are excellent! Don't forget to keep healthy! You cheer me up so strongly! Report
You are amazing, beautiful and such an inspiration. Keep it up. Great blog. Report
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. Report
Very inspiring! Report
Congrats on your 100lb weight lose goal.
keep up the great work. Thank you for
Being a great inspiration. Report
What an inspiration. Thank you for opening my eyes! Report
Congratulations on your weight loss journey. Keep up the great work! Report
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! Report
What a great blog, I am so inspired by you. Good luck on the 2nd hundred pound journey, I know you will make it! Report
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! Report
Thanks for sharing your story. Report
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. Report
Totally enjoyed your blog, I needed to read something like this today. I wish you all the best . Report
Same as everyone else has said, you have come a long ways and congratulations on all you have accomplished! Amazing! Report
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.
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. Report
Your story is a true inspiration!!! Congrats on your weight loss. Report
WOW! Thanks for sharing that with us. Report
Your story is so inspiring, even to someone who has been in maintenance for 3 years. Keep up the amazing work! Report
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!!! Report
You are awesome. What an inspiration! Report
Absolutely Awesome! And you have determined how to continue the second half of your journey successfully. Your story is an inspiration. Report
Thanks for sharing your journey with others. You encourage us/me to keep going when we don't think we can. You are awesome! Report
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! Report
You are amazing and you are a winner. Keep up the positive attitude. Report
You are an inspiration! Keep it up!! Report
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! Report
Fantastic story and attitude. Keep up the good work. You Can Do It. Report
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 Report
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