Note: Below is the content of an article I wrote in 2006 for a local Weight Watchers newsletter about my experience losing weight and the important role Weight Watchers played in my success.
I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t overweight. During my senior year of high school, my parents encouraged me to get down under 200 lbs in time for the big dance. I went on a two week starvation diet and lost 5 lbs. Two years later, in 1984, I married my best friend, Sam, wearing a size 18/20 wedding gown. I remember thinking that a person couldn’t possibly weigh any more than I did right then. Boy, was I wrong! In the next eight years I gave birth to 5 children and gained 134 lbs. There were times when I thought I would be fat forever. I wanted to be slim and energetic but I didn’t want to give up eating the things I liked. The obstacle seemed too huge to overcome, like climbing Mt. Everest.
Then in the summer of 2001, I hit the bottom of the barrel. I stopped caring about things that had previously been very important to me. I was tired and miserable all the time. I felt imprisoned in my own body. The mountain seemed to loom over me. I had no energy. I just wanted to give up. But, as they say, once you hit rock bottom the only direction to go is up!
A few weeks later I went to my doctor for a physical exam. After the examination she said, “You are basically a healthy woman, except for your weight.” For some reason instead of crying I thought, “That is something I have control over. The only person who can fix that is me.” Not long after that I was talking with a good friend at a party and learned that she was going to Weight Watchers. We talked for two hours as she explained the points program and how she had been progressing toward her weight loss goal. Everything I heard seemed to fit in with my own philosophy of how to lose weight in a safe, healthy way. I especially liked it that I could eat food I was accustomed to eating and I didn’t have to give up my favorite treats. The following week I walked into my first Weight Watchers meeting. My climb up the mountain had begun!
Journaling has really kept me going. Not only do I write down what I eat and the points but I keep a journal of my feelings and the ups and downs of the journey. To bring myself up when I hit a plateau I write down the encouragement and advise I would give a friend in the same situation. Then I mark the page so I can go back and read it whenever I need a boost.
I can’t imagine this journey without the support of weekly meetings. I’ve made a lot of marvelous friends who never fail to give me encouragement. Our leader shows a genuine interest in our success. We have a great time together every week. My family has also been wonderful. Sam and I often go on walks at 5:30 in the morning. Our children affectionately call me their “Loser Mom”.
From the very beginning of my weight loss climb, I incorporated some form of exercise. I started with a 20 minute walk to the end of my road and back. As I walked along I would say to myself, “Someday I’m going to run.” Now, to vary my 60 minute walk I alternate between walking and running. If someone were to ask me why I run I would smile and say, “Because I can!” Besides walking and running I also enjoy biking, strength training, mowing the lawn, gardening and chopping wood. This summer a dream came true for me. I went water skiing for the first time in 18 years!
If I were to give advice to someone just starting out I would say, Stick with the basics! Eat smart, drink water, exercise, journal, attend weekly meetings. Stick with the program no matter what happens. When you get discouraged remember the tortoise and the hare, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Two years ago losing weight and getting fit seemed like a mountainous task that was beyond my reach. Now I’m within 10 pounds of the peak and the view from up here in breathtaking. I feel as though I have my life back and the possibilities are unlimited. I can hardly wait to explore every one of them.