Category Archives: Obesity

Obesity and Energy Levels

I receive a lot of unsolicited advice about my “health,” and most of the time I appreciate it because people care enough to say something. It’s an important issue, but my size doesn’t accurately portray my energy level to many looking at me from a distance. 

Say what you want about my need to lose weight. That’s an undisputable fact, but I’m going to brag about my energy levels for a moment. 

I get up around 6 am during the week, and I’m up almost as early on Sunday mornings. Most days I’m away from home for more than 12 hours at a time. I’m gnerally not the “sit on the sofa while eating pizza while binging on Netflix” type, though I did make an exception for House of Cards. I’m the “wake up, hit the ground running, let’s smile because it’s finally time to be awake” type (at least most days.) 

I sleep well. When my head hits the pillow, it usually isn’t long until I’m dreaming. I typically feel rested when I wake up. I indulge in occassional Sunday naps, but it’s not a requirement…not even close. 

I have more energy and endurance than a lot of people who are much smaller than I am, but I don’t have as much as I had two years ago. This isn’t a post about comparing myself to other people because I don’t do that; this is about me. 

I’m aggravated with myself because I gained a significant amount of weight back, but I’m doing better. I’m consistenly eating less and making better choices. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but it’s been better for the last few months. 

My routine feels pretty solid now, but I need to exercise more than I do. I need to do it consitently because I know that it will lower my stress levels and increase my energy levels. It’s a win-win, so why am I struggling to do it? 

I’m busy from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. I enjoy everything I do, so rarely does it feel like burden. I’m thankful for that. I don’t prioritize my workouts, which is no secret here. I know that needs to change, which is also not a secret. 

I know that I need to continue taking steps in the a healthier direction. I’m doing that by cooking chicken in my slow cooker and bringing my lunch to work, making more time to get enough sleep, drinking water, and eating vegetables. I know that there’s so much more to do. 

I just find it a little frustrating (and silly) that people (though most of them mean well) spend their time and effort telling me how I should detox, or how I should do this or that because it will give me more energy, etc. It’s odd because those people (the recent ones) aren’t as healthy, balanced, or energized as I am. They’re just skinnier. 

I don’t offer a lot of unsolicited advice, but if I did, I’d start by suggesting that people offer less unsolicited advice. I’d follow that up with the need to recognize that our looks don’t always portray everything that’s happening on the inside. In fact, it rarely does. 

This isn’t something that I plan to lose sleep over. It’s just a little PSA for those well-intentioned, yet misguided folks. I’m okay. I could sugarcoat what I’m about to say, but it’s not intended to be mean:

If you’re talking about this with me and I yawn, it’s probably just because these talks bore me. Thank you for caring. Just take a bit more time to pay attention to the reality of my situation if you’re going to comment on it. I’m juggling my priorities right now, and I’ll keep trying to do better. 

—–

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 

Collossians 3:17

Are Cankles A Job Hazard?

I feel like I’m adjusting well to life at the office, but I’m having one issue that I wasn’t expecting. My feet and ankles are swelling.

Is it safe to assume that it’s because I’m sitting a lot more than normal? Several people have said that, but why would sitting make your feet swell? What should I be doing to combat it?

I’ve been taking my lunch to work each day, and I’ve made packed healthy and well-balanced meals. I’m also drinking a lot of water. I bring it by the gallon, so I can refill my pretty Starbucks tumbler all day.

I’m not incorporating exercise into my daily routine yet, but I know that will help the swelling too. Won’t it?

It’s amazing to realize how much I move around on an average day. Coming here has definitely made me much more sedentary than I was, so I need to figure out how to be active during the days that I’m here too.

I walk to the far restroom when I need to go, and I spend my little breaks walking around the building. I just need to do more, and I’m not sure where to start. I’m only here Monday through Thursday of most weeks, but that’s a big chunk of time.

I’m eating healthier things, and I’m going to bed earlier. I’m drinking water, and I need to exercise.

Does anyone have ideas to help reduce the swelling? If so, I’d love to hear them.

 

 

Embracing My Selfie, Or Why I Take Lots of Pictures of Myself

I’ve been taking selfies since before they had a name. I avoided the camera for years, but at some point on my journey through life, it became common for me to snap photos of myself.

Kenlie

Last week I got to spend time with a long time blog friend, Cathy, who was in New Orleans visiting for a conference. When she told me about her upcoming trip, we knew we’d meet up, and we did. We met at Cafe Dumonde, where I resisted beignets. (Yay for me!) We also walked around Jackson Square, which is the prettiest part of the French Quarter in my opinion.

This woman has been my friend since at least 2010. The moment I saw her, it was like seeing someone that I hadn't seen in ages!

This woman has been my friend since at least 2010. The moment I saw her, it was like seeing someone that I hadn’t seen in ages!

As we walked down Royal St, we stopped at CVS to pick up a few things, and I found a selfie stick! I obviously bought it on the spot, and it’s the best $10 I’ve spent in a while. I haven’t used it to take any selfies because doing that would be ridiculous, but I’ve been in some hilarious group photos that wouldn’t have been possible without my Mono Pod de Narcissism.

I’m surrounded by an uplifting group of friends, many of whom take selfies, with exception of a few because they’re too narcissistic, and I understand that. I really do, and even though I kind of agree, I look at it from a different perspective.

There was a time when I hated myself so much that i avoided mirrors at all costs. I looked at myself long enough to style my hair and apply makeup, but I was mortified when I caught my reflection in store windows. I hated the way I looked in photos. I still took them, but I didn’t post them online because of my shame. For years the only photo that I had one Facebook was a picture of my hair blowing in the wind while driving with the top down. I didn’t want to be seen by others, nor did I want to take a look at myself either.

Sometimes I take full body photos to send to Ariel, so she can say yes to the outfit or no.

Sometimes I take full body photos to send to Ariel, so she can say yes to the outfit or no.

Now, years later, I’m still not skinny, but I love myself. I’m not pleased with myself for still having so much weight to lose, but I love myself. I haven’t accomplished every goal that I set yet, but I love myself. (You get the idea, right?)

Full body Selfie Lane Bryant

I also think that it’s okay to wear horizontal stripes even though I always hear that I shouldn’t. Whatever, folks. I’m doing it.

Sometimes when I take a selfie, I’m reminded of how much work I have to do. It’s also hard to accept the fact that I could have done so much more over the last few years. Those thoughts are important to face because it has helped me make better decisions over the last few months – decisions that bring me closer to my goal.

Gym Selfie

I was frustrated seeing myself in the giant gym mirrors when I took this around the holidays because I should be smaller now, then I remembered that I was in the gym doing something good for myself. I like capturing those moments.

Some days I post selfies because I want to hear that I’m cute, pretty, etc., and when that happens I admit it with proper hashtags. #PAYATTENTIONTOME

See? I have some pretty uplifting friends who encourage me when I need it.

See? I have some pretty uplifting friends who encourage me when I need it.

And some days (many lately) I take selfies because I feel pretty. I’ve been using a few products on my face since Christmas, and the result is that my makeup is still mostly in tact even after singing (sweating guts out) on Sunday morning. (Thank you, Smashsbox Photo Finish!)

Kenlie Naps

I took this selfie last week right before I took a long afternoon nap on my sofa. Sundays start early for me, so sometimes I nap.

Some people find success, at least temporarily, by tearing themselves down. I feel successful when I see myself and love the person that I see.

I have a lot to accomplish, and I’m happy to say that I’ve lost week for the last five weeks in a row. It may not sound like much, but I’m experiencing more consistency in my food choices than I have in a long time. I haven’t had a doughnut since September, and I haven’t indulged in any desserts in over two weeks.

I’m feeling good about my tiny steps in the right direction, and the selfies will continue to be a small representation of that. They might also lead to encouragement from people who care on days that I need that too.

Kenlie Car

How do you feel about selfies? Are they good? Bad? Do you care either way?

 

 

Planet Fitness: Yes or No?

I have mixed feelings about Planet Fitness, but it may be the best option for me right now. I like other gyms in the area, but some of them cost 5 times more than PF.

The thing is…Planet Fitness does some things differently than other gyms. When I visited with Clint a few times last year, I noticed that they had a free pizza night and bagel days. Is this a New Orleans thing, or does this happen at all of their locations?

Don’t get me wrong; I love pizza! I just love it so much that I don’t know if I could pass it up if I smelled it while sweating on the elliptical. It seems kind of counterproductive. I mean, I have plenty of opportunities to eat junk when I’m not at the gym. Maybe that’s why my exercise space needs to be set apart from that.

I also don’t like how far the locations are from my apartment. Neither location is downtown, but I can get to both of them in under 15 minutes. I drive that far to get to my favorite coffee shop almost everyday.

It’s weird that they don’t allow grunting too. I don’t lift weights that are heavy enough to cause grunting, but I don’t mind when others do.

On the flip side, I really like the 30-Minute Express Workout option that comes with the membership. I like doing circuits because they’re quick, thus making it easy to keep my attention. It’s easily the most appealing part of the gym.

Actually, the most appealing part is the price tag. It’s $10 per month, $20 for the fancy membership. It’s hard to shell out $90 a month for a sub-par gym membership, which is what I did during my first year in New Orleans. It’s also tough to motivate myself to use the free little gym upstairs in my building. It’s nice, but it’s small. In addition to its size, it’s also hard to get motivated when there’s no one else around (at least for me.)

Have you ever been a member at Planet Fitness? If so, would you recommend it? if not, would you consider it? Why or why not?

 

Sugary Things

I’ve been pretty stressed out today, and while it hasn’t completely passed, I know that I’ll get through it.  I’m not turning to food to comfort me, which feels like a win. I’m sticking to my no doughnuts/macchiatos plan, but there’s still so much that I need to change. When I think of everything that I need to be doing differently, I get overwhelmed. I’m still not ready to look at the big picture, but I’m ready to add another layer to my checklist.

Saying NO to those sweet things is great, but I need to be sure that I’m not replacing them with other sweet things. I’m still at Starbucks regularly, but I’m “indulging” in unsweetened passion tea. It has no calories, and it’s pretty to look at while I work. I can have free refills too (thanks to my gold card status) so it’s a win. I don’t miss the macchiatos most of the time.

I haven’t missed the doughnuts either (probably because I reached the point of total disgust a few weeks ago,) but I have to be careful with other sweet things. Sugar is my weakness. I know that I need to make some adjustments in the way that I consume sugary junk.  I know some people who quit sugar cold turkey, but I’m not that strong. I can’t even think about how hard it would be to enjoy life without sugar at any time. I’m sure some of you are strong enough to do that. I’m not.

I met someone recently who only eats dessert on the weekend. That seems like good plan.   Refraining from sweets during the week (desserts, random offerings of chocolate covered gummy bears, etc.) would greatly impact that way that I consume sugar. I know someone else who eats well all week and allows himself to eat whatever he wants to eat on Saturdays.

I’m not ready to say that I will not eat anything sweet ever again, but I might be willing to refrain from it on the weekdays. If I can manage to do that without going crazy on the weekend, then I’ll consider that a win.

If I want sugary things during the week, I’ll have fruit. I love honey crisp apples.  I keep them stocked in the fall.  I realize that they contain sugar, but let’s be honest. I don’t have hundreds of pounds to lose because of all of the fruit I eat.

I did some walking with girlfriends over the weekend, and I was reminded how awesome and easy it is to enjoy my surroundings.

IMG_3955

I live in a beautiful neighborhood that people come to see from all over the world. I just need to start taking advantage of that more than I have been lately. I have access to a gym with a nice view as well. I’m not sure why I allowed myself to forget all of the awesome tools and experiences that are right under my nose.

Canal St. New Orleans

I’m committed to making some positive changes in the coming weeks and months, and it feels good to be making positive progress now.  I’ll face the numbers on the scale later, but for now, I think that if I limit sweet treats even more and exercise more regularly, I’ll be doing enough to see a positive shift.  I’ve already felt one of in my attitude, and that feels a lot better than what I was feeling until a few weeks ago.

Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding sweets and/or replacing them with healthier alternatives?

 

 

 

The More I Learn, The More I Realize That There’s So Much That I Don’t Know

There’s no question when it comes to whether or not I am as perfect as I can be already. I’m not. I have so much to learn, but often times, what holds me back is in inability to admit that I still have so much to learn.

I know that I need to eat less, move more, etc. What I struggle to understand is why I want to eat so much so often. Delving into the associated feelings to find an answer threatens to put me in a place in which I have to feel some uncomfortable things.

Why do I feel such a strong urge to go out of my way to make a stop at Krispy Kreme on my way home from a certain man’s house? Am I sabotaging myself since he doesn’t love me quite enough? Am I trying to fill a void? Am I depressed because I’m not getting what I want when I want it?

I could answer yes to all of these questions, but in thinking about these things, I find myself trying to put on a face of bravery or indifference to spare myself from feeling those unhappy feelings.

I have so many reasons to be thankful, and I am. I have so much. I
struggle to admit that I still want more (in relationships, in weight-loss, in everything…) because I don’t want to seem ungrateful for everything that I do have.

Gaining control of my life is obviously a multi-faceted process, and I’m not succeeding in all of the areas yet. Overall, I’m happy more often than I’m sad. I’m thankful more often than I’m envious. I’m at peace more often than I’m stressed.

I’m in a good place, but I’d like to get to an even better place. Can I do that without trudging through some uncomfortable emotions to get there? Probably definitely not.

It’s not always easy to love myself just because (not because I lost some weight or because I’m doing well in school or because I’ve accomplished x, y or z) just because, but it’s getting easier.

I’m learning that my existence (my purpose) is to learn and change and grow. I want to impact others with my positive attitude and with my willingness to try and fail and try again.

Success isn’t about getting from point A to point B without making mistakes. It’s about continuing to fight through obstacles and starting over when necessary. It’s about understanding who you are and what your purpose is, and then turning those thoughts into action.

This Is My Life, Not Yours…

Last weekend I was told that my biological clock was ticking.  I even received links (that I didn’t bother reading) about the risks involved in having a child after 35.  No…it was not my family hounding me about having a baby, but I felt personally attacked by someone who would tell you he loves me.

First, let’s take a breather and remember that I’m only 32 years old.  I’m not too old to have a kid, start a new career or to wear bright blue nail polish, even if some people in my life see fit to make me believe otherwise.  I’m in my early thirties.  I live alone, and I take care of myself, and I’m proud of myself for making major changes in my life.  I’ve experienced tremendous emotional growth, and I’m still changing.  I went back to school last year to pursue a degree in a field that has opened up an entirely new world to me, and I have recommitted to finishing what I started in weight-loss.

I’m 32 years old.  I don’t have a husband, nor am I in a healthy, happy relationship that would make me consider bringing a little human into the world at this point.  I’m not sure why it’s so important to married and unmarried people with kids to project those desires on me.  I’m a terrific aunt, and I love my niece as much as I could ever love a person.  Of course I’d like to experience that kind of love with a child of my own, but I’m not ready.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready, and that’s okay with me right now.

Having a child has never been a serious consideration for me because I’ve never been married, and for most of my adult life, I have been obese.  I realize that women my size often give birth, but I personally don’t see a reason to put myself and a tiny, helpless life at risk because of my size.  I feel more comfortable at this weight than I did at 400 pounds, but a child wouldn’t be on my agenda at this point, even if I had already fallen in love and married The Future Mrs. Kenz whom I’ve discussed here before.

It’s not easy to express how hurtful it was to hear that I have a couple of good years left before I should turn to adoption, or simply not bother.  (Adoption sounds like a wonderful idea, by the way.)  I know that the person who shared the statistics wasn’t being cruel intentionally, but he failed to see why his assertion that the only way to do it is to do so by 35, hit a nerve with me.

I would love to fall in love, get married, move back to the city I want to live in most, buy a place and live happily ever after – all in the next 2.25 years, but who knows if that’s in the cards for me?  What I do know is that shoving statistics down my throat from doctors who have never met me or examined me, and reminding me that 35 is the cut off before I’m “high risk” definitely won’t make anything happen any faster.  If anything, it will just squelch my desire to make any of it happen because I’m already “too late.”

Whether we are sharing our lives on the internet, or we are simply opening up to people that we deem trustworthy, we subject ourselves to thoughtless judgment.  If you know me, you know I’m no stranger to that realization, but I have also learned throughout my journey that sometimes showing love and respect to someone is more important than being right.  Sometimes taking feelings into consideration is more important than winning a debate, especially since changing someone’s mind is a difficult thing to do.

So if you think I’m too old to have a family, get a new job or paint my fingernails bright blue, then get ready for some major disappointment.  I’ve created goals and achieved success in my life before, but I’ve done it on my terms and in my own time.  This is my life, and I will live it in a way that brings joy and happiness to me and the people I’m lucky enough to love.

Until then…I’ll continue to wear blue nail polish if I want to.

nails

I Don’t Know

When I think about this blog, I always just assume that it will be here.  It has been almost 3 years since I began writing it, at the time I began my journey to a healthier lifestyle.  A lot has changed in my life since then, and I realize that I am 100 pounds lighter than I was when I started, at least in part, because of my blog and the people reading it.   I also realize that in spite of my intense and consistent workouts, my weight hasn’t changed much in almost a year.  And I maintain that I am pleased to have kept 100 pounds off since losing it, but I’m not sure what I have to offer here right now.

When I started this blog, it was all about me, and I wrote whatever I felt like writing because no one was reading it anyway.  Now I know that people read it and that some of you take time to reach out regularly through comments and emails and tweets, and I appreciate it so much more than I could every convey with words.  But I don’t know where to go from here.

Should I forget that people are reading and write whatever comes to mind regardless of the topic?  Should I whine about why this has been more difficult in the last year than it was at first?  Should I drone on about how terrifying it is to look at my overall goal?  Should I keep posting weekly weigh-ins with tiny little decreases and gains hoping that the good will outweigh the bad?  Should I just stop blogging?

I’ve always spilled my guts here.  AndI can’t imagine not posting (almost) everyday. I can’t imagine not knowing the incredible people that I’ve met as a result.  So I’m not saying goodbye…I couldn’t do that.  I’m just not sure what to say exactly.

 

Thursdays Matter Too

I’ve been doing things differently over the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been feeling healthy and strong as a result!   Earlier this week I shared my decision to eat with more regularity on Thursdays, and I did.  I also decided to workout before attending my meeting, another thing that I have never been comfortable doing before stepping on the scale.  And I was down 0.6 pounds.

Since I started my weight-loss journey, I’ve heard all kinds of advice from folks who have similar goals and interests.  My first trainer told me not to workout just before stepping on the scale because I’d weigh a few pounds more.  Several fellow weight-loss friends shared that they don’t drink as much or eat as much before the step on the scale….Some don’t eat foods that are high in sodium the day before weigh-in, etc.  You get the idea, and I’ve done all of these things too.

But I threw all of that out of the window yesterday, and I’m glad I did.  I am no longer afraid to be active or to fuel my body because it’s Thursday.  It was ridiculous to ever feel that way, but hey…I can admit it when I need to change.  And I’ve admitted it.

So instead of spending the majority of my day being sedentary (which is really unnatural and uncomfortable) I opted to hit the gym to do another 10 miles on the elliptical before I headed to my meeting.  Next time I’ll try to allow enough time to shower, dry my hair and change into my weigh-in outfit because I’d rather not show up drenched in sweat again.  (Sorry WW friends….Thanks for understanding!)  Seriously, I was soaked from head to toe when I arrived, but I felt good about doing what I needed to do for myself.

When the machine made me start over I did what I did last time. During the last mile, I did as much as I could going backwards...It's slower, but it works different muscles.

So…..I wish I had shown a bigger loss this week. (Don’t we always wish for that?)  But I’m satisfied with the loss and with my efforts.  I really can’t tell you how hard it has been to change these habits knowing that the scale wouldn’t reflect the work I’ve done all week.  But now it’s done, and I’m proud of myself which is really the most important part anyway.  I probably won’t drink a gallon of water or do 10 miles before every weigh-in, but I won’t be afraid to anymore either because if I’m eating well and exercising the scale will reflect that eventually.

Cooling off, but my hair was soaked, and my clothes were too...

What are your thoughts on exercising right before weighing in?  Do you do it, or do you believe it’s smarter to wait?  And if waiting is your answer, then how long do you wait?

 

 

Should I Wear Spanx When I Fly?

Southwest and their vague and discriminatory “Customer of Size” policy is old news around here, but I have some new things to say after a flight I took last week.

According  Southwest, the scale cannot tell me if I’m too fat to fly. That would be discriminatory.  Instead, they allow their ticketing agents to do it.  And it seems they prefer not to discriminate until you’ve paid for your seat and arrived at the gate!  At that point, they seem content to allow their gate agents to eyeball fat people and single them out in front of other passengers.  Somehow, this practice is widely acceptable at Southwest.  We see it in the news constantly!  And I’ve experienced it…again.

I realize that flying via Southwest after what happened earlier this year makes me foolish, but after being urged by a representative from Southwest’s HQ who contacted me after my original blog post, I agreed to give them another chance.  And I did.  After taking countless trips on JetBlue as well as flights on American Airlines and even utilizing two seats on a smaller US Airways commuter flight, I took a chance and flew with Southwest again. I flew from New Orleans to LA to workout with Richard Simmons, and I also flew from Baltimore to New Orleans without questions/harassment by Southwest employees.  Is it part of their policy to treat overweight passengers with respect only when cameras are rolling?  That’s certainly what it looks like to me.

Last week I decided to join my mom on a flight to my sister’s house using my free pass courtesy of Southwest. And while I felt some anxiety about doing it, I made the decision to fly with her, telling myself that this would be a different flight. I would not have to face public humiliation again. My bad….just call me naive.

When the woman at the check-in counter began explaining that I would not be able to fly today (in front of everyone at the gate) I firmly suggested that she move the conversation about my size to a private area.  She refused to move the conversation to a private area and proceeded to explain that from her view ( “Well, look at you.” Really? Okay…) I’d have to purchase an additional seat at full market value or not fly.

After a few moments that felt much longer to me as I revisited the hurt and anger already caused by SW, she called a supervisor who moved the conversation to a different kiosk – a different kiosk…still in front of everyone in the check-in line.  Clearly, the folks at Southwest Airlines do not understand the definition of the word “private.”  Of course, if you watch the news, that probably doesn’t surprise you.  When the conversation with the supervising agent commenced, she looked me up and down and said that I’d need to purchase an extra seat and that they’d refund the money at some point later if the flight was not overbooked. (Yeah, I know that’s part of their  “Customer of Size” policy. I’m quite familiar with it at this point.)

Standing there in front of hundreds of people, once again I was experiencing feelings of anger, embarrassment and resentment toward an airline that has already caused an incredible amount of anxiety and mental anguish for me personally.  Forgetting that their representative told me that it would not be necessary to purchase a second seat on future flights, and forgetting that he said he’d personally book me on another airline if I had additional problems flying with SW, all I wanted to do was fold and take an extra seat.  It was about 5am…and if you know me, you know that I’m not a fan of early mornings and/or confrontation. I prefer to deal with the folks that can actually make changes as opposed to the folks at the gate.

My biggest problem with Southwest now is not that I was humiliated once again, though I was….Being told to look at myself in front of everyone at the check-in desk only enhanced my feelings of failure and embarrassment while giving a lot of strangers the opportunity to agree that I don’t deserve even a modicum of respect, is unacceptable.

My biggest problems with Southwest now is their lack of respect, sensitivity and consistency.  Should I wear Spanx when I travel?  Seriously…As someone who fills my seat, but doesn’t spill into the seat next to me, I want to know what I have to do to see some consistency when I travel.  The short answer, I know, is to fly with another airline, and I will.  But that doesn’t help the 30% of Americans who are overweight – some of whom will find themselves in my situation at this airline.

Southwest’s “Customer of Size” policy needs to change.  Southwest’s employees need to go through sensitivity training just as the representative from their headquarters said they would.  Why do I feel like that was just lip service?  Read their broken policy then ask yourself… Why did they ignore my request to speak about this in private?  Why was I denied the opportunity to prove that I could fit into one seat with the arm rests down after offering to do so? What did I do to piss these people off? (That’s rhetorical, of course.)

Once I arrived in Colorado, I received a message from Southwest.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Moving forward, when flying with Southwest Airlines and falling under our Customer of Size policy, we will require the purchase of a second seat for travel.  If a second seat has not been purchased prior to day of travel, you will likely be asked to do so at the ticket counter or gate.”

Who decided that I fall under their Customer of Size policy now?  And why did they decide now as opposed to May when I weighed a bit more than I did at this time?  And why didn’t they decide that the man next to me (who was a few inches taller and noticeably rounder) needed an additional seat?  How is it that I could fly from New Orleans to LA on Southwest without embarrassing issues and from Baltimore to New Orleans as well?  Why is it only an issue sometimes?

I should also note that on my return flight, Southwest booked an additional seat for me.  And at check-in, they could’t figure out how to combine the seats to create one boarding pass so after 20 minutes or so, they gave me two boarding passes.  The SW agent at the ticket counter told me “not to confuse TSA by showing them two boarding passes,” but I did because I didn’t want any issues to arise at the gate.  The TSA agent said “Which seat will you be using?”  And my response was “I don’t know. Southwest just requires that I have two on this flight.”  The agent said “Why?”  I said “because I’m so fat.”  She looked me up and down and said “that’s weird…ridiculous. hang in there.”  She thought it was ridiculous that Southwest required me to have a second seat which made me feel good because she sees as many passengers as they do.

The bottom line is that I’m tired of showing up at the airport and being humiliated. All I want to do is fly. All I want is some consistency. I do not want to pay full market value for a ticket two days before Thanksgiving because one agent thinks I need to while another does not.

This is how I sit on every flight...

I will not fly with Southwest again. I gave them another chance (a few chances actually) and they have proven that they don’t want my business. They do not want the business of overweight passengers (unless, of course, you’re willing to pay for an extra seat or two – or you’re a minority.)  I am not going to pay for an extra seat every time I fly because Southwest sometimes hires fat-phobic employees.

I fill my seat, but I do not spill over into the next seat. I don't use the armrest either since there's only room for one arm.

And one more thing…I took a lot of flack for making a similar point last time, but I have to do it again because it bears evidence of their discriminatory policy.  The man checking in at the kiosk next to me was taller and clearly more robust than I. He was also a minority. Is that why his gate agent didn’t tell him that he couldn’t fly today? Or is it because, in the eyes of that particular agent, someone his size (someone taller and proportionately larger than I – in the hips and shoulder and stomach) wouldn’t require an extra seat?  Am I being targeted because I’m a woman?  Or because I was willing to stand up to Southwest after being discriminated against?

The reasons why don’t matter as much as the need for change.  Southwest may never grant equal rights to equal access. They may never create a finite policy that defines their terms for those of us who may not need two seats any longer. But I’m going to do my best to see to it that they do because I deserve it…and there are thousands of other consumers and would-be consumers who deserve it too.

This isn’t over Southwest…in fact, it’s just beginning.