Success in the Making - Claire

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First of all, a little bit about myself: I am a 27 year-old preschool teacher. I have been married for almost five years, and I have a one-year old son and a 3 year-old daughter. When my husband graduates from college in two years, I plan to go to graduate school for Creative Writing to add to my Bachelor's Degree in English. Now for my history: when I was a kid, I was always a little chubby. (Never obese, but always chosen last for sports, teased, etc.) When I was in High School I weighed 150 pounds and was a size 12 (which is my goal weight), but I thought I was fat. A month after I started college, and on my 19th birthday, I started dating my husband-to-be, and my weight slowly kept rising from there. When we married four years later, in 1996, I was 189 pounds. Two years later, in 1998, after my first child, Emma, I weighed 126 pounds. Two years after that, in 2000, after the birth of my son Gus (during this pregnancy I had gestational diabetes), I weighed my highest, 131 pounds.

I kept telling myself that it didn't matter, that I was a good wife and mother, and an intelligent woman who was tired of our look-obsessed culture. I used that as my excuse to keep eating Oreo after Oreo, and maintain my weight. Then, in September of 2000, 8 months after the birth of my son, my diabetes came back. My doctor tactfully told me that the only chance of getting rid of it was to lose weight and exercise.

He said that otherwise I would be on oral medication to control my diabetes for the rest of my life. That, and hanging around with my brother's new very fit and beautiful wife, made me wonder if I could do it.  

I watched what I ate for about a week, and lost a few pounds. I felt really good. Then my mom called me and said that she had joined Weight Watchers. I was skeptical of the points plan. I said, "Mom, I could never do that. I'd feel so deprived." She said, "You can eat the foods you want; you just have to count up the points." I agreed to try it so she sent me some information.

The first few weeks were very hard. I was eating in the 24-31 point range (before the points were modified), and it was so hard to stay under the limit. My stomach was so stretched from eating so much and so used to over-eating, followed by feeling lazy and bloated, that I had to get used to eating normal portions and feeling satisfied, but not stuffed, after a meal.  

After 2 weeks of counting points and losing 5 pounds, I joined a gym with a co-worker and started exercising. I started off slow, like walking a mile or two on the treadmill and lifting very light weights. Now, exactly halfway to my goal and 40.5 pounds slimmer, I do 35 minutes on the Precor machine (which is the hardest machine at the gym but also burns 500 calories per workout) three times a week and weights twice a week. I have lost 7 inches off my waist, gone from a size 22/24 to a size 14/16, and feel great! Now it is easy to feel satisfied at 22 points per day (the lowest for my weight).  

I am now down to 174 pounds, only 24 from my goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited.

Occasionally I splurge and go over. Like my husband's birthday is this Friday, so we're going out and I'm not going to count points. I'm going to eat what I want and have a few drinks if I want. BUT I WON'T FEEL GUILTY! I have come too far and feel too good to go back to my unhealthy eating, so I know that I'll just have to go to the gym a few extra times to make up for it. I know that I am in control. And Dotti's website has been such a life-saver! I have gotten so many good tips. I have included a few meals that I like so others can benefit. Anyway, I hope my story helps. AND YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!! 

My favorite low-point meals:

1) I eat Healthy Choice Kielbasa-a half of one (one fourth of the package) is 3.5 points and very filling. I make baked french fries and I'm good to go! Just spray a potato cut in strips lengh-wise with butter flavored Pam on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for about a half hour. Broil to get crispy. That is a 6.5 point meal!! 

2) I love refried beans so I eat fat-free ones with melted cheese and lots of tomatoes, lettuce, and hot sauce. The beans are 3.5 points a can, and the cheese is 3 points for an ounce (I don't like fat-free but you might). So that is only 6.5-and that's if you eat the whole can which is usually too much for me. I also sometimes put it on 1 point tortillas (Manny's are great!). 

3) I buy fat-free fish called blue grenadier and they are only 2 points per fillet. They are great with the fries or with a 3 point cup of pasta with a point of parmesan cheese. 

4) I also love to make my water go down easier by adding no-calorie sweetener, half a lemon squeezed in it, and a few raspberries. It tastes like raspberry lemonade and is less than a point per glass!  Claire

Hey Dotti! Today (7/15/01) I weighed in at 165 - only 15 pounds from my goal! I can't believe it--it doesn't seem real. I'm very excited!! Just thought I'd update you. Talk to you soon, Claire

(11/3/03) I have reached my goal of 138 pounds (that was in July 2003.) I had had my goal at 145, (which I reached in January of 2002) but it felt so good that I kept going. I’ve changed my plan a little bit. I cut out a lot of carbs, as I have always had blood sugar issues. This has helped me maintain a great deal. I can eat more calories and still keep my weight off. I eat healthy stuff of course, mostly fruits and veggies, lean meats, dairy, etc. and still workout 3 times a week or so.

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Photos - L-R:October 2000, about 1 month before starting to lose weight - pants, size 22 - shirt, size 22 - weight, 231 lbs; November 2000, right around time started WWers; Memorial Day, 2001

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