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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 (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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SNUZYQ2 6/20/2020
This blog is so inspiring! Appreciated the frankness with which this blog was written; the simple sharing of feelings through the weight loss experience. Thank you so much for sharing! Report
As of May 13th 2020 none of the links work. Blog is gone, twitter goes nowhere. Report
BOOKNUT52 4/16/2020
The links to the airline agent story are bad. I found this one: https://abcnews.go.com/Travel/fat-f
Read to the end! Great quotes of this blogger...I appreciate her a lot. Report
BOOKNUT52 4/16/2020
I'm sorry that people treated you the ways you described. I'm glad you were strong enough to move past that, even though hurt. Just like the Bible says, Men look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). We need to look on the heart...Thanks for sharing this. Report
I know this was written 9 years ago. I tried to click in the link, no luck. Would love some follow up stories. The good, and those still a work in progress (aren't we all). Report
Holy moly! You literally worked your butt off!! I am so happy for you. Report
Great job! Keep on going. You are an inspiration. Report
Wonderful. Happy for you
Blessings Report
Changing your thought process is the key to changing your life. Way to go Kenli!
Great article Report
Wonderful post!! I can relate in a lot of ways. ❤️ Report
Well written blog. Great story. I am inspired. Report
Kenlie, you are an INSPIRATION to all of us !!!WOW!!! Keep going,girl! YOU CAN DO IT! You HAVE BEEN doing it and what a great success story! I am so HAPPY for you and I KNOW YOU WILL DO IT!!!!! Report
Very inspiring story. Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult. But she is winning this battle. Report
Outstanding commitment. thanks for sharing your story. Report
Congrats on your success! Report
thank you for this inspirational post Report
You go, Kenlie! Congrats on your progress! Report
WoW, you are in inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Report
Wow, Kenile, you are amazing. Love what you have done, and what you are continuing to do. Report
I wish her well, go to her link, she is working hard to lose the last hundred. This was written in 2011......it is a long, hard trip, no magic, no magic foods that hurry you along. Best of luck to her! Report
Simply amazing! You are so inspiring! Great article. Report
Inspirational! Report
GR8 Story!! Congrats on all your success Report
She doesn't say anything about finding a doctor who understands obesity and what help she has gotten. I found such a doctor who is an endocrinologist and he put me on Metformin, (I know now even at age 13 I had PCOS), a weekly shot of Bydureon, Armour Thyroid and Acarbose (I take with meals). I dropped 36# even though the last doctor I saw told me "At your AGE (I'm 68), you can't expect to lose weight now since you have Metabolic Syndrome." This doctor told me "He was right that diabetes starts at 126 and your blood sugar is 115, but it is close enough." I feel so much better and still have about 20# to take off, but I know my weight issue has been in need of medical help and not just "eat less move more." I stopped night time eating all together, which was a huge problem I had. Report
so inspiring! Report
Thank you for sharing this part of your Life Journey! You are beautiful and inspiring! Report
Thank you. Report
OMG your are amazing Report
I am new here and have never left a comment. This is the most encouraging story I have read! You really inspired me. I know I can lose my 100+ pounds because I have done it before. Now I just have to do it again and learn from past mistakes. Report
good job Report
Inspirational! You are awesome! Thanks for sharing your story. Report
very impressive! Report
Good for you. You inspired yourself and now you inspire others. You should be so very proud of your accomplishments. Thanks for sharing. Report
Thank you for sharing. You're living proof that persistence pays! Report
What you have lost in weight you have gained in courage. Way to go! Report
Great story and thanks for sharing. Report
Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your depth and understanding are a great motivator. Report
Kenlie, you can do it. Thank you for sharing your story.

Kenlie so very inspiring and very proud of your positive approach! I encourage you to look into whole food plant based eating such as promoted by Forks over Knives documentary. Do take a look at this as it is extremely inspirational! I have shared your story with lots of others who are also very inspired!! Report
Congratulations on your accomplishment! I wish you all the best in your continued journey to take care of yourself. It doesn't matter if you 10 pounds or 100 pounds to lose, we are all in the same boat and I am glad to offer my support. Report
So encouraging and inspiring! Thank you and I'm wishing you cont'd success, one right after another!! Report
Very inspiring story. Thanks for sharing Report
thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your story. I carry my weight well but that doesn't mean its healthy. Im at the point where a change is gotta come. Team Health. all the best
What a fantastic article! I can really relate to this! Thank you so much for sharing. Report
Thanks for sharing your journey Kenlie! Your honesty is so inspiring, keep it going and never stop! I have lost 70 pounds and have 45 to go. Life is good, one step at at time, one foot in front of the other! Report
You are awesome! Keep going. Report
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have lost 150 lbs. so far. I have another 70 lbs. to go. It can be so discouraging to see myself and know that people still see a fat person. Someone who has 70 lbs. to lose is still heavy, but they have no idea how far I've come. It has been hard for me to accept all the progress that I've made and not judge myself for what I haven't yet finished. I will definitely be following your blog. Report
Wow! Thank you.
Great blog post! I can totally relate. I used to weigh 315. Now I weigh 225, but had to explain to my new doctor that yes, I agree I need to lose more weight, but you don't know what I used to weigh and how much I've already lost. I just keep my eye on my goal, not on what someone else thinks. Report
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