Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dominican Alumni 2012 Reunion: Class of 2007 5 Year Anniversary

This past April weekend marked my 5 year class reunion at Dominican University of California! Class of 2007 and friends rocked it out this year, even in the ridiculous heat. During my years at Dominican these folks became my second family, and even now have been such a strong support system in my weight loss journey! Thanks fellow Penguins!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I have been out of the blogging game for awhile, due to a lot of life MOments that just kept piling up. I am happy to report that life is finally at a balance. I am re-organizing my life, which is beautifully depicted above. No matter what challenges I face I know that I will always be able to bounce back even if I fall. Why?! Because I have the skills, the tools, the healthier support system, and now the self love. Updates soon to come. <3 MOtastic

Friday, April 6, 2012

HOW TO DEAL WITH CRITICISM WELL: 25 REASONS TO EMBRACE IT (not my blog post, but can relate to it)

HOW TO DEAL WITH CRITICISM WELL: 25 REASONS TO EMBRACE IT (not my blog post, but can relate to it) by Tinybuddha.com Founder Lori Deschene “Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle At the end of the day, when I feel completely exhausted, oftentimes it has nothing to do with all the things I’ve done. It’s not a consequence of juggling multiple responsibilities and projects. It’s not my body’s way of punishing me for becoming a late-life jogger after a period of cardiovascular laziness. It’s not even about getting too little sleep. When I’m exhausted, you can be sure I’ve bent over backwards trying to win everyone’s approval. I’ve obsessed over what people think of me, I’ve assigned speculative and usually inaccurate meanings to feedback I’ve received, and I’ve lost myself in negative thoughts about criticism and its merit. I work at minimizing this type of behavior—and I’ve had success for the most part—but admittedly it’s not easy. I remember back in college, taking a summer acting class, when I actually made the people around me uncomfortable with my defensiveness. This one time, the teacher was giving me feedback after a scene in front of the whole class. She couldn’t get through a single sentence without me offering some type of argument. After a couple minutes of verbal sparring, one of my peers actually said, “Stop talking. You’re embarrassing yourself.” Looking back, I cut myself a little slack. You’re vulnerable in the spotlight and the student’s reaction was kind of harsh. But I know I needed to hear it. Because I was desperately afraid of being judged, I took everything, from everyone as condemnation. I realize criticism doesn’t always come gently from someone legitimately trying to help. A lot of the feedback we receive is unsolicited and doesn’t come from teachers—or maybe all of it does. We can’t control what other people will say to us, whether they’ll approve or form opinions and share them. But we can control how we internalize it, respond to it, and learn from it, and when we release it and move on. If you’ve been having a hard time dealing with criticism lately, it may help to remember the following: The Benefits of Criticism: Personal Growth 1. Looking for seeds of truth in criticism encourages humility. It’s not easy to take an honest look at yourself and your weaknesses, but you can only grow if you’re willing to try. 2. Learning from criticism allows you to improve. Almost every critique gives you a tool to more effectively create the tomorrow you visualize. 3. Criticism opens you up to new perspectives and new ideas you may not have considered. Whenever someone challenges you, they help expand your thinking. 4. Your critics give you an opportunity to practice active listening. This means you resist the urge to analyze in your head, planning your rebuttal, and simply consider what the other person is saying. 5. You have the chance to practice forgiveness when you come up against harsh critics. Most of us carry around stress and frustration that we unintentionally misdirect from time to time. Emotional Benefits 6. It’s helpful to learn how to sit with the discomfort of an initial emotional reaction instead of immediately acting or retaliating. All too often we want to do something with our feelings—generally not a great idea! 7. Criticism gives you the chance to foster problem solving skills, which isn’t always easy when you’re feeling sensitive, self-critical, or annoyed with your critic. 8. Receiving criticism that hits a sensitive spot helps you explore unresolved issues. Maybe you’re sensitive about your intelligence because you’re holding onto something someone said to you years ago—something you need to release. 9. Interpreting someone else’s feedback is an opportunity for rational thinking—sometimes, despite a negative tone, criticism is incredibly useful. 10. Criticism encourages you to question your instinctive associations and feelings; praise is good, criticism is bad. If we recondition ourselves to see things in less black and white terms, there’s no stop to how far we can go! Improved Relationships 11. Criticism presents an opportunity to choose peace over conflict. Oftentimes, when criticized our instinct is to fight, creating unnecessary drama. The people around us generally want to help us, not judge us. 12. Fielding criticism well helps you mitigate the need to be right. Nothing closes an open mind like ego—bad for your personal growth, and damaging for relationships. 13. Your critics give you an opportunity to challenge any people-pleasing tendencies. Relationships based on a constant need for approval can be draining for everyone involved. It’s liberating to let people think whatever they want—they’re going to do it anyway. 14. Criticism gives you the chance to teach people how to treat you. If someone delivers it poorly, you can take this opportunity to tell them, “I think you make some valid points, but I would receive them better if you didn’t raise your voice.” 15. Certain pieces of criticism teach you not to sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter that your boyfriend thinks you load the dishwasher “wrong.” Time Efficiency 16. The more time you spend dwelling about what someone said, the less time you have to do something with it. 17. If you improve how you operate after receiving criticism, this will save time and energy in the future. When you think about from that perspective—criticism as a time saver—it’s hard not to appreciate it! 18. Fostering the ability to let go of your feelings and thoughts about being critiqued can help you let go in other areas of your life. Letting go of worries, regrets, stresses, fears, and even positive feelings helps you root yourself in the present moment. Mindfulness is always the most efficient use of time. 19. Criticism reinforces the power of personal space. Taking 10 minutes to process your emotions, perhaps by writing in a journal, will ensure you respond well. And responding the well the first time prevents one critical comment from dominating your day. 20. In some cases, criticism teaches you how to interact with a person, if they’re negative or hostile, for example. Knowing this can save you a lot of time and stress in the future. Self Confidence 21. Learning to receive false criticism—feedback that has no constructive value—without losing your confidence is a must if you want to do big things in life. The more attention your work receives, the more criticism you’ll have to field. 22. When someone criticizes you, it shines a light on your own insecurities. If you secretly agree that you’re lazy, you should get to the root of that. Why do you believe that—and what can you do about it? 23. Learning to move forward after criticism, even if you don’t feel incredibly confident, ensures no isolated comment prevents you from seizing your dreams. Think of it as separating the wheat from the chaff; takes what’s useful, leave the rest, and keep going! 24. When someone else appraises your harshly, you have an opportunity to monitor your internal self-talk. Research indicates up to 80% of our thoughts are negative. Take this opportunity to monitor and change your thought processes so you don’t drain and sabotage yourself! 25. Receiving feedback well reminds you it’s OK to have flaws—imperfection is part of being human. If you can admit weakness and work on them without getting down on yourself, you’ll experience far more happiness, peace, enjoyment, and success. We are all perfectly imperfect, and other people may notice that from time to time. We may even notice in it each other. Somehow accepting that is a huge weight off my mind. (TO MY FOLLOWERS: I don't know why my formatting is weird, but I will work on it--thanks for the patience!)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dear MOtivation...

I can definitely relate to the above photo. It has been six months since I started weight loss coaching. Did I lose the 10 lbs a month I wanted? No. Now, most people would reply with: "Then WHY are you working with a weight loss coach if you didn't get your 60 lbs. loss goal? You haven't made much progress in your life." My response is: "Well, this is exactly WHY I am working with a weight loss coach. My attached weight is from many challenges, obstacles, and emotional weight that prevents me from truly focusing on one person only: ME. The beautiful thing about life is that it is always changing and evolving. The person I am today, is completely different from the person I was six months ago. In the last six months(without too much detail for personal reasons) I moved out of my parents house, uprooted my life from San Jose back to Marin, cut out the people in my life that were truly not supportive of me (quality versus quantity) completed my MBA thesis project while couch surfing for 3 months in several counties before I finally moved to Sausalito, got a new job at a nonprofit in San Rafael doing work I LOVE, becoming more active politically in Marin, became a Eucharistic Minister/Lector/Young Adult Catholic leader at my church, and am redefining and restarting my life only focusing on one person only: ME. It took me 26 years to finally become a true adult, and this is the first time in my life that I am proud of myself and happy. I think I accomplished a lot in the last 6 months. In fact the decisions I have made in the last six months probably would have never happened until I left my parents home. I am accountable and responsible for one person now: ME. I know I keep repeating that, but I never truly realized how much I live my life for OTHER PEOPLE. Now is the time, especially during the Lenten season to jump start the 2012 year for ME. I know, it sounds VERY Eat, Pray, Love, but honestly that's where I am in my life. Progress, Motivation, Inspiration, and Discipline. The last 6 months were crazy sauce, but these next 6 months will be an ass kicker, and I promise you: I will be 60 lbs down. Why?! I HAVE NO MORE DISTRACTIONS. If I fail at this, there is only one person to blame: myself. No excuses. Whatever it takes. Here we go...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mount Burdell: A Hiking Gem in Novato

That's right! I am exploring my new home of Marin County! The above photos are from my morning hike with one of my friend's and her dog. Early hike before work?! YES PLEASE! If you have any suggestions of places to hike, please let me know! *hugs*

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dear 2012...

New year. New job. New place. New me. Stay tuned. 2012 will be one hell of a year! PROGRESS!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Personal Testimonial: Weight Loss Coaching with Kristin

Hello, my name is Maureen De Nieva. I have only struggled with being obese since I turned 18 years old. Currently I am 26 years old. By the time I was 22 years old I had gained 124 lbs and weighed in at 320 lbs. Over the years I managed to lose the weight by good nutrition, exercise, and even getting a gym trainer, however along the way I lost focus. At the beginning of my journey I managed to lose about 100 lbs in the first 1.5 years, but by the second year of the journey I let excuses pile up and honestly I settled at the weight I was at. Since then I have lost and gained, lost and gained, but more recently I GAINED. I climbed back into my 270s. How did this happen? Simple. I didn't prioritize myself. I stopped loving myself. This is when I reached out to Kristin to become my weight loss coach. I have been coaching with her since September 2011. Since then I have achieved and accomplished things I never thought I would, such as leaving an emotionally unstable household and moving out on my own, getting a new job, and cutting out people and places that were completely unhealthy for me physically and emotionally. I know this testimonial doesn't say much, but I am finally empowering myself and it feels great. Since leaving that household and finally making decisions for me and only me I have gained love for myself, respect from those around me, and have lost almost 6 lbs in the last 2 weeks alone! The point is, weight loss is a formula: good nutrition + exercise = weight loss. However, because I didn't come to terms with how I emotionally stress eat or how my weight is connected to a lot of past and current life events that I didn't unearth and confront until now I kept on this weight as a way to protect me and my feelings. But thanks to Kristin and her coaching I have become a much stronger young woman and will do whatever it takes to stop gaining and start losing, but this time FOR GOOD. Why?! Because this time, THERE ARE NO MORE EXCUSES. I'm going to do whatever it takes to live the healthy life I deserve to live and YOU can too! <3 Want to know more? Feel free to follow my blog: http://www.motastictsfr.blogspot.com/