I joined Weight Watchers in 2003 because my former college roommate lost a lot of weight and for the first time in our friendship was skinnier than me. Three days after meeting her for dinner and seeing the thin person she had become, I was at my first Weight Watcher meeting. I’m not proud of my initial motivation to join, but it was one of the best decisions that I made. In 10 months, I lost 52 pounds, and I’ve keep it off through getting married and having two kids.
As a child, I was a normal size. But in 6th grade, I gained extra weight. By high school, I was fat. At my heaviest, during junior year, I was a size 18. I managed to get down to a size 12 in college, but that was where my weight stayed until Weight Watchers.
When I first read though the program materials, I was outraged. I didn’t think I could eat so few calories and have so much of them devoted to fruit and vegetables. I happened to join a few days before the Fourth of July, and I knew I was going to be cheated out of my favorite cook-out foods.
But I brought along fruit, filled my plate with raw veggies without dip and ate a small hamburger. At my second meeting, I had lost weight. That’s when I knew that I could adjust my lifestyle to include a balanced diet and exercise and not be deprived of anything. Of course, it takes a lot of work and motivation.
Careful planning and exercise are the key to my success on the Weight Watchers program. I pick healthy recipes for a week’s worth of meals and shop for the ingredients ahead of time. I look up the calories and decide what I’m going to order before I get to the restaurant. As time passed, my motivation changed. I have seen my mother and a friend struggle with diabetes, and I know that the best way to prevent it is to eat healthy, exercise and keep my weight in the recommended range for my height.
In the early years, when I was single and lived with my parents, I could workout on their elliptical machine or do a step aerobics DVD whenever it fit my schedule. I could cook the foods that I wanted without worrying about who else liked it. Even after I married, I still had the run of the kitchen and the stationary bike because my husband worked second shift, so we didn’t eat dinner together and I could work out before he got home from work.
The hard part was making it work after birth of my children. I gained 45 pounds with my first pregnancy, and was back to pre-pregnancy weight in four months. With the second, I gained 50 pounds, and I still have about 6 more to lose after 6 months. I have learned to adjust my expectations and fit in exercise when I can. For example, I moved my workouts from naptime to after bedtime as our first child grew up. Now, I work out before 7 am so I can shower and get dressed before either of our children wakes up and before my husband goes to work.
I have also learned to have my daughter clear her own plate from the table so I don’t eat her leftovers, and to buy low-calorie ice cream treats for me so I don’t gorge on her graham cracker snacks. I know the secret to maintaining my weight loss is to keep fitting exercise into my schedule and keep eating mostly whole grains, lean meat, fruit and vegetables with an occasional trip to the ice cream shop.