Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weight Loss Update

I got back on the weight loss wagon upon my return from vacation with a goal of getting out of the "obese" category for 2011.  This means I need to lose 28 pounds.  To make sure I got off to a good start, I applied to be a contestant on Win, Lose or Blog which is a seven-week weight loss competition where the contestants must blog their experience.  Two weeks in, I'm down 5lbs.  Go, me!!!  I'm not winning the competition nor do I really care if I win....I just know that blogging about my weight loss ups and downs is helping me deal with my emotional eating, develop new habits and stay motivated. You can check out my blog at

I'm following the new Weight Watchers Points Plus program and I absolutely love it.  I'm eating more fruits and veggies than ever before and also keeping my starchy carb intake in check.  I'm also loving Zumba for Wii because I'm having a blast and sweatin' like a 'ho in church.  I am still doing my FIRM DVDs and recently purchased their newest system called the FIRM Express Set (though I'm waiting and waiting for their customer service reps to get my damn order right).

My first Non-Scale Victory (NSV) was fitting comfortably back into my Old Navy "Flirt" Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans without having my stomach bulge out so far that it looked like a booty.  I bought these jeans for our trip to England and by the end of the trip, they were cutting off the circulation in my belly and thighs.  Not anymore...dropping 5lbs is already making a difference. 

Me and the Hubbs are planning a trip to Florida in late March/early April and I'd like to be down another 15lbs by then. But more importantly, I'd like to be back into a size 14 blouse/12 bottom (I'm top heavy) because I have a bunch of clothes in those sizes that I haven't worn since 2003.

Next update in 2 mo' weeks....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Eternal Skeptic Goes Life-Mapping

I'm skeptical by nature. Add to the fact that I'm an academic and you can see why things like "personal coaching" and "manifesting your destiny" type of books and workshops never really held much appeal for me.  But I recently came across a blog called in which a young African American woman hosts web seminars and blogs focused on career and personal coaching.  Ever the skeptic I am I thought, "I don't need this.  I'm grown with multiple degrees, a good job, a husband and a house."  But when the blog owner offered a free Life Map exercise, I downloaded the booklet and wow, did it open my eyes.  I never realized how little I paid attention to goal-setting, planning and organization.  But after doing the exercises, it made me look over my own blog posts to see how much of a mess my finances were in, for instance.  I then realized that even though I'm a 30-something, educated professional woman with a husband and house, I still needed to bring focus to my goals and that I shouldn't stop dreaming.

The Life Map places "You" at the center and there are seven categories in which you need to develop an "ultimate" goal for each area.  The categories include: Relationships (Intimate or with Friends), Family, Work, Education, Finances, Health and Lifestyle.  Since I'm a college professor trying to get tenure, I've focused almost 70% of my time to work and have neglected other areas which are in desperate need of attention. Once I returned home from vacation, my first order of business was to develop my life map because I needed to bring focus and intentionality to what I was doing. Spending so much time on work was taking a toll on my relationship with my husband, my weight ballooned, spent too much money on fast food and ways to escape and basically was living life on default.  So here's what I've come up with:

  • Relationships: (1) Show more gratitude to my husband for the "heavy lifting" he does to keep our relationship strong and (2) Do a better job of keeping up with the household chores as this is a bone of contention in our relationship.
  • Work: (1) Stop procrastinating with grading because it affects your stress levels and interrupts your research (2) Engage in more service to the profession (i.e. pursue a committee member position for one of your professional organizations (3) Develop and stick to a research/writing schedule
  • Family: (1) Call or send hand-written letters to key family members (2) Forgive (but don't forget) grandparents and go visit them.
  • Education: (1) Enroll in sewing and creative writing classes for personal enjoyment.
  • Health: (1) Achieve a healthy weight so I can (2) become pregnant with no complications.
  • Finances: (1) Pay off credit card and student loan debt (Live Debt-Free)
  • Lifestyle: (1) Travel and (2) Stay Active with Sorority
I am fortunate that I'm happily married and in a career that I love. I realize, however, that what's been holding my happiness back is my lack of organization and my procrastination tendencies. What this life-mapping exercise is allowing me to do is to focus on things that are important to me and if something comes up that takes my energy away from my goals, reviewing my Life Map can help me ditch that which doesn't work.  I'm tired of having end of the semester meltdowns, losing and gaining the same 10-15lbs, and paying interest on credit cards.  I'm not saying I plan to achieve all of my goals in 2011 but Life Map is helping me getting the ball rolling.

I honestly started to get down a bit because I thought I had to surrender to the routine of going to work, paying bills and keeping a clean house.  What I realize now is that if I get organized, I can do all of those things plus the stuff that brings me joy. Maybe this life coaching stuff isn't a bunch of gimmicky hocus-pocus....We'll see :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Achieving Goals By Raising the Stakes

I used to say that I was "extrinsically motivated" when it came to my diet and exercise goals.  I used to focus on looking good by using an important event as my primary source of motivation.  But over the years and being happily married, the need to look good around others became less important and hitting targets fell by the wayside.  I suppose I've gotten used to not honoring my self-promises because I would set unrealistic goals AND I didn't have something to help sustain my motivation over the long-haul.  So I was intrigued to discover a new goal setting site called in which users set-up Commitment Contracts.  But this isn't your run of the mill written contract that you make with yourself and forget about it the next week.  At, your commitment contract carries a financial penalty for not achieving your goals.  This website was created by economists who realized that when people put their own money or reputation on the line, they are more apt to follow through with their plans. 

At Stickk, you give your money to either their charity or 'anti-charity' of your choice.  You also designate a relative or friend to be your "referee" to monitor your progress and keep you honest.  There is also an option to select which people you want to have access to your goal progress so they can serve as your very own cheerleaders.  For me, the idea of giving money to an "anti-chairty" intrigues me the most...Say my anti-charity was the Sarah Palin Political Action Committee, I would do my damnedest to make sure I didn't have to get that woman a single dollar of my money. 

I'm realizing that I need to avail myself to every tool available so that I can finally drop this weight and get into shape. Obviously, shaping up for "bikini season" wasn't working but the thought of giving the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin any of my money would keep me up all night dreaming about hopping on the treadmill in the next morning. Time for me to put up or pay up.