I did about 45 minutes’ worth of aerobics yesterday, in the form of mall walking. It’ the perfect exercise in the perfect environment. I can literally shop until I drop. Once while living in the D.C. area, I spent an entire day shopping at Potomac Mills outlet mall. Speaking of which …

I need to start thinking about interim rewards, little gifts for every five pounds lost, bigger ones for 10 and so on. Potomac Mills is only about a three-hour drive from Raleigh. I’m thinking a three-day shopping weekend would be a great reward once I hit the 50-pound mark. Or maybe a weekend in New York. I love plays, and can see myself going to at least two a day. And shopping.

I was so happy to see I’d lost eight pounds in just over a week. At my weight, it’s not unusual to lose that much. In fact, this first month is when I’ll see the biggest losses. After that, it will slow down considerably, and that’s when I’ll start stepping up and switching up my exercise routine.

Yesterday, I walked and window shopped, careful about my heart rate because it’s still spiking earlier than I’d like it to. All stores were decked out for Valentine’s Day, especially Victoria’s Secret, as you can imagine. I stopped in a few stores, but not that one because really, after size 14, it’s just not much of secret anymore, is it?

That’s yet another thing to look forward to, although I’m more of a Jockey for Her kinda gal. Besides, I’m far from proportional and hard to fit. Unlike a lot of heavy women – well, let’s just say I can look down at my chest and have an unobstructed view of the tips of my shoes. But I digress …


Although I’m thrilled to have lost eight pounds, I never thought I’d feel it in my clothes. But I was wearing a velour jogging suit – and so were four other overweight women; must be some kind of uniform – one that used to fit perfectly. Yesterday, it was bit looser, especially the pants.

That was such a good feeling. I strolled past Williams-Sonoma, a favorite, and saw they were having cooking lessons for Italian comfort food. Any other time, I’d go in to investigate, but not this day.

I don’t want to sound overly optimistic. It’s only been about a week, but let me tell you, one week, one day, can make a difference.


For Valentine’s Day, the hubby has threatened me with dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, followed by a movie. It’s not the dinner I’m concerned about, for I intend to enjoy myself in moderation. My all-time weakness is movie popcorn which, according to the latest stats, contains 1200 calories, 60 grams of saturated fat and 980 milligrams of sodium. (No wonder it’s so good.)

But I’m just two pounds away from a 10-pound loss, so I’ll try to focus on that – and how to reward myself. Suggestions welcome. Have a great weekend, and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.