One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


Do You Have Measurable Objectives?

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Question of the weekOne of the things I learned while studying Instructional Design was how to write clear learning objectives. It’s the first step in lesson planning and some would say the most important. Good instructional objectives describe a measurable outcome that can be observed and preformed by the student. In a nutshell the objective should answer this simple question… What will the student be able to do after performing these tasks and to what level of accuracy?

Shouldn’t our weight loss goals be the same?

For me, most of my weight issues came from a piss poor body image. I thought I was fat because I didn’t look like a model in a magazine or my super skinny friends. I started dieting to reach an unmeasurable goal of "being skinny" or "having the perfect body." How many have you said it? "I just want to be thin!!"

What is ‘thin’? Is there a specific weight in which you will feel you are ‘thin.’? How do you measure ‘thin.’?

For 15 years I set a goal of being "thin" and it never worked for me. I didn’t have a clear objective. I started my lesson plan all wrong.

It wasn’t until I defined a different set of goals that success was not only measurable but attainable. For example, when I started going to Weight Watchers in June 2005 I didn’t focus on getting "thin" my focus, my objective was to lose 10% of my body weight by counting points.

Simple. Clear. Measurable.

I tried real hard not to think about my size or getting thin. The only thing I focused on was meeting my objective. In retrospect it makes total sense but I must admit, hindsight is 20/20. ;~)

So what say you? Do you have unrealistic goals or are your objectives measurable?

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There are 18 comments so far.


    May 25, 2009

    My objectives aren’t really measurable…but that’s because I have more of a “continue to feel good, exercise as much as possible, eat real food” mentality. It’s just what works for me, I guess! :)


    May 25, 2009

    That’s what works for me now too! But I needed first overcome the “I must get skinny” attitude! and setting those measurable goals helped me do that. :)


    May 25, 2009

    I love that you put this in a teacher’s perspective! This works for me and it is something I can ponder now…


    May 25, 2009

    Great post. I agree that objectives are important. I know you are running now and I bet that you have your own set of objectives related to running. I have been trying hard to eat better – but always feel like external influences (i.e., people wanted to eat out is what really kills me) really hinders my progress. So I turned to exercise. My goal is to be able to run a 10K (6.2 miles) and bike 50 miles (not necessarily on the same day). So far, I have achieved a 5K run and have done a few 20mile rides and one 25 mile ride. I recommend fitness goals that are firm. That is one reason I do like running/riding. Distance and time are easily measurable quantities and you easily measure your progress. Probably TMI, but I appreciated the post and wanted to comment. Cheers.


    May 26, 2009

    I know that the BMI isn’t the answer to all problems, but it is a decent guideline, and I am planning on reaching the recommended weight for my height (5′ 1.5″) first, which might as many as 9 kilos away, so it’ll take a while to get there. Then, my objective is to stay under 60 kgs (132 lb) and to complete a half-marathon on October 4th in under 2:45:00 (!) by way of an 8K/5 mile road race in under an hour on August 8th. Once this is out of the way, I want to continue running and strength training (“Power Plate”) and first get my total loss up to 45 lbs/20 kgs and then eventually drop to just under 120 lbs (54 kgs) very gradually, then maintain it and try to improve my half-marathon time to as little over two hours as possible. All this in about 14 months. A woman can dream, can’t she?


    May 26, 2009

    did you ever read the outline I sent?


    May 26, 2009

    I that I’m learning to focus more on the things that I can control and the things that I can change and I’m worrying less about the things that I can’t. After having the baby my mind set shifted from losing weight to look good in a bathing suite to wanting to loss weight so that I’ll be able to play with her and not have a heart attack in the process. I could careless what that number is in the end as long as I’m eating better and setting a good example for her. It’s all about her now


    May 26, 2009

    Yesterday I actually sat down and wrote out a list of measurable goals. I started with 10% and then 20%. I also wrote down things like fit into a size 14 comfortably. Walk to the third floor of my work without feeling like I can’t breath.
    Great Question!


    May 26, 2009

    as usual, great question! I still “want to be thin” but “thin” to me is measurable I guess. I want a size 8 again. I was there, felt great and want it back. Actual I was a 4-6, but after 2 kiddos I’ll shoot for 8. I also want to workout at least 3 times a week on a regular basis.

    I also have my wii fit goals. 17 more lbs and 22 BMI.



    May 26, 2009

    Wow…. what a great way to look at it!! I’m a software tester. When we test software the first thing we ask is “what should this program do or produce when it completes its function.” I wonder why I never looked as weight like that!! Thanks for helping me look at things in a new way!


    May 26, 2009

    I read your blog all the time and am completely inspired by it. I never leave comments (sorry) but this one I had to. I am an engineer and work in an environment that keeps “metrics” on everything we do. It’s how we show progress and how we know we are going in the right direction. The saying we use is “That which gets measured is that which gets done”. It’s unbelieveable what progress can be made when you decide you will start measuring it every day.

    I think that was one of the things that made WW work for me, it was measurable and a metric that I could take every day (points). I could make adjustments instead of going on “gut feel” (ha, meaning that only when my gut felt full!).

    Thanks for the post and for being a great inspiration.


    May 26, 2009

    Great post, we have SMART objectived drummed into us at work (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time) but I have never really used this towards a weight loss or fitness goal. Something to think about :)

    Beth M.

    May 26, 2009

    Roni, I reached lifetime in January and ever since have had trouble (I lost easily to get to goal)….my weight teeters up and down and lately it’s done nothing but go up. After reading this post this morning you inspired me! I typed out a “plan” with specific goals and a plan of action…..they are measurable goals with specific, measurable plans to meet these goals. Now I just have to stick to it!

    Hope to run into you this weekend at the race in Annapolis!


    May 26, 2009

    Great idea! If you don’t know what success is, how do you know if you’ve achieved it?


    May 26, 2009

    Logically, my goals on paper and the goals I talk about are measurable I suppose. There is a number I want to reach (125) and a pair of size 5/6 jeans I want to be able to wear comfortably. HOWEVER, in my head there are some UNwritten probably not so logical, and quite unrealistic goals.

    Like…being skinny. Like being TINY (i don’t know why I always liked being called tiny…).

    And there are the numbers (behind the numbers) that I secretly hope for when I’m being honest with myself. I say 125…inside I would be ecstatic for 115. But I know in my heart if I go below 120 I’m not sure I’ll know how to stop again.

    I say 5/6…i would absolutely LOVE a 3/4. And yet again…there is that cycle.

    For me having a measurable goal is so very important from both ends. It gives me something to reach for, while at the same time knowing when to stop and giving myself boundaries. I remember before (during my dark time of no eating) that when I reached 120, in the mirror I couldn’t tell because in my head I just wanted skinny or thin. It made it impossible for me to discern that I was already there cause there was no tangible goal. So i just kept going and looking for what in my head qualified as skinny. 25 pounds later…it still took someone else pointing out that…Ummm Brandi…you weigh 95 pounds…you’re already there…and gone…

    Measurable, realistic goals are SO VERY IMPORTANT for progress and for reality checks!!


    May 26, 2009

    I work in an area where part of my job is to coach people to move performance. We also work off the SMART mentality (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) but I have never really put this into practice with my life. I need to make myself a coaching plan!


    May 28, 2009

    1. First 5lbs

    2. 5% of body weight

    3. 10% of body weight


    May 28, 2009

    Well, I kept thinking my focus should be 132 pounds but after reading your post I started thinking about the 10% .. for me .. it would be 179.1 and if I see it as you wrote it.. that should be my focus for now.. just 10& of my current weight.. I can do that..
    thanks for the timely post..