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Two years ago, just before my 46th birthday, my doctor said it was time for blood pressure medication, my knees, hips and back were in terrible shape, I couldn't walk up even one flight of stairs without breathing hard and my cholesterol was way above the desired rate. My doctor was sure weight loss would mean a lot in improving my health and quality of life. Of course, doctors had been telling me that my entire life - I was overweight when I started kindergarten and with minor exceptions which were generally short-term, I continued to get heavier until I reached my all-time high of 288 pounds about 6 years ago. At this very time, my company decided to bring the Weight Watchers 123 Success program to work. So, I resolved to give it a try. We had an initial meeting to determine interest and learn about the program. I liked it and signed up right away. I could tell the group leader, Marlene Ellman, was a supportive and knowledgeable person and really gung-ho on the program. She lost over 30 pounds 12 years ago!
My sister Judy had also lost over 100 pounds on her own program and she was quite an inspiration. And I had a good friend at work, Joyce, who had lost 50 pounds with Weight Watchers the previous winter.
Well, that was 2 years ago. It took me 20 months to reach goal and I became a lifetime member six weeks later. I lost 133 pounds - a whole person! I feel great and look even better! My blood pressure is perfect, I can climb six flights of stairs without breaking a sweat, and my cholesterol is remarkably better. I went from size 28 to size 10. I lost 66 inches in my arms, bust, waist, hips and thighs. It's amazing how good salad tastes without a mayonnaise-based dressing. Other benefits include the fact that I no longer get indigestion, I can shop anywhere and find clothes in my size (I'm dangerous at the mall with a credit card), people who haven't seen me in a while hardly recognize me and when they do, they are astounded and so complimentary. I just love it!
I changed so many life-long habits and really think differently about food and exercise. I drink water, plan my daily food intake, eat a lot more fiber and a lot less fat, and I spend three days a week at the fitness center after work. I can go to a buffet and come away content without being over stuffed. I save points or do extra exercise when I know there are special challenges ahead. After being fat my whole life and trying many, many diets, this program has literally changed my life. I know I will never be fat again. I've learned how to eat healthy and found out I actually like exercising.
My husband Al is my biggest supporter. He calls me "my skinny honey" and loves telling people about my success. He does most of the cooking and has really changed the amount of fat and the portion size for us. We still love to eat out, but I've learned I can do that and not go off program. Did you know you can eat at a restaurant and NOT order a big, gooey dessert? Well, I'm living proof - it's true!
When I got close to my goal I told my husband I wanted a big diamond necklace - at least 1.33 carats because my goal was to lose 133 pounds. Do you know what he asked me? "Can it be bigger than 133?" Well, if you look at the "after" picture, you'll see he bought me quite a rock. I wear it every day and whenever I touch it, I remember how much work I did to get where I am. I love being thin, shopping for size "M", feeling healthy, exercising and telling people about Weight Watchers. It's the right lifestyle for me at a time when I needed to make a major change.
So, thank you Weight Watchers from the bottom of my heart, for giving me the tools to make a new start!
Photos - L-R: 288 lbs, June 1998; 155 lbs, June 2000
When I reached lifetime, I wrote a poem. I hope you enjoy it. I know I will never be overweight again - and I know you won't either!
Thank You Weight Watchers
Follow the program, record in your journal
Drink all your water, tracking points is eternal.
Eat a variety, it's really incredible
Like great one-point snacks and zero-point vegetables.
"BLTs" were a problem, those bites, licks and tastes
And all of the fatty foods went right to my waist.
I've also learned credos and myths about meals,
Like "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels".
I've learned how to eat right, high fiber, low fat
Plan for special occasions, I'm no longer a "brat".
At some meals I actually eat like a rabbit
It's so good to know I've changed those old habits.
I follow the program, 1-2-3 Success
And that's why today I weigh so much less.
Sixty-six inches I've lost all around
As a result of my hundred and thirty-three pounds.
My family and friends give me inner peace
I just ignore those would-be "diet police".
For 46 years I did no exercise
Enjoying the fitness center came as a surprise.
Changed my life, changed my habits, with Marlene as my mentor
And Mindy with cookbooks and scales is the registrar.
At all of the meetings they were quite consistent
Supportive and cheerful, I knew that they meant it.
There will always be "aliens", those naturally thin
But I'm thin now, too, and I've learned how to win.
I love being size 10, "M's" my new favorite letter
Since I've lost all this weight, I even wear sweaters.
My knees and my hips are no longer sore
My back and blood pressure have improved so much more.
So thank you Weight Watchers from deep in my heart
For giving me the tools to make a new start.