Success Stories - Rebecca
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It was around puberty that I began to put on weight. I think there was a combination of factors that led to this. Hormonal issues certainly played a part, as did family pressure to succeed. I traveled 20 miles each way to go to a highly pressurized academic school. My parents marriage was beginning to crumble. I sought solace in food for all of my woes. Throughout my teenage years I lived with the constant criticism that I was fat and lazy, which made me miserable, so I ate more to comfort myself, which made me even fatter...a vicious circle.
Unlike many people I had never made any previous attempts to lose weight before WW. I always assumed that "dieting" meant living on lettuce leaves and I considered good food to be such an enjoyable part of life that I wasn't prepared to do that. After a while I just got used to seeing myself as a big girl, and tried to convince myself that it was just an extension of my personality - I have always been the jolly type, cracking jokes and very sociable but not as conventionally attractive as my sister. When I started college I was a size 18, three years later when I started work I was a 22, by the time we moved here in March I was a 26...my clothes size had matched my age since I was 14!
In London I had a pressurized job with fairly long hours, a frustrating commute and a hectic social life, with little time to cook properly or exercise. At 22 I also fell in love and married my sweetheart Alistair, who fortunately could see past my appearance to love the person inside. His unconditional love has done wonders for my self-esteem and general happiness. I think that issue needed to be addressed first before I was mentally ready to address the weight issue. However, with my new-found contentment came more steady weight gain, and by the beginning of 2000 I was at an all-time highest weight of 234.5 lbs.
When we moved to the US in March 2000 and I couldn't get a work visa, it was a good chance to change a lot of things in my life. I had lots of free time on my hands, so I figured I'd join Weight Watchers as a way to meet people and hopefully make some new friends, and if I lost some weight as well then that would be an added bonus. Also, I knew if I couldn't lose weight when I wasn't working and therefore had the time to exercise, plan healthy meals etc. then I'd NEVER be able to do it! So I walked into my local WW meeting on Monday 3 April 2000 and 75 lbs later, I can honestly say I've never looked back!
I noticed the weight loss first in my face and neck. It's hard for me to know when I first went down a size, because I kept wearing my size 24/26's until they got so baggy they were falling off me, and then I finally went shopping and could fit into size 18's with no problem. It was only when I started wearing these better fitting clothes and had my hair cut short that people really started to notice a difference. I think our brain's perception of our body image is always six-nine months out of date, so when we're big we won't acknowledge how bad it's got, but when we're finally slim it takes a long time for our brain to perceive us that way. I always do a double take when I see myself in shop windows now!
What has worked for me? I always eat over my minimum points but rarely my maximum - I always try to bank some points during the week to make weekends easier. I am a stickler for keeping an accurate food journal and writing everything down, because when I don't I always seem to conveniently forget a few things that have made it into my mouth during the course of the day! I think WW has to become as much of a mindset and a way of life as our bad food habits were originally. Instead of mindlessly munching in front of the TV, now I mindlessly write down everything I eat in my journal.
I try to walk at least 2-3 miles 3 or 4 times a week, either in the local park or indoors to my "Walk Aerobics" video (www.walkaerobics.com). I've definitely noticed an improvement in the muscle tone in my legs and butt as a result. My Body Mass Index has gone from 39 (obese - very high risk) to 26 - just one point above the recommended range of 18.5 to 25. Physically the changes have been numerous - better quality sleep, my back pain has reduced significantly, and I don't get out of breath so easily. I've gone from a size 26 to a 10 in the last 8 months and as at mid-December 2000 I weigh 159 lbs.
The support I have found on Dotti's website and message board has been incredible and has made all the difference. I now count some of the other posters on the boards among my closest friends - even though they may live hundreds of miles away! Other people's successes and achievements are inspiring; when you're feeling down there is always someone with a word or hug to lift your spirits; and there is good advice and support available 24 hours a day.
My favorite quote is "Don't think about what you have to lose. Think about what you have to gain." I also really like the one that says "Remember - your body doesn't know what day weigh-in is." It always helps me to remember this when my weigh-in result isn't as good as I was hoping for.
Once it became a habit to eat healthily, I found I didn't want to go back to the way I ate before. My new-found willpower on this program has amazed me - it feels so good to be in control! I have cake, Oreos, chocolate, all kinds of tempting stuff in the house and I'm fine. I think I'm a different person! I guess I just want to be thin now more than I want all that other stuff. Inside my old body was a younger, fitter, happier, more confident person just waiting for the opportunity to get out and enjoy life, but I kept her sedated with chocolate. To say this program has changed my life would be an understatement.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
- L-R:< taken in Dublin 1997; taken in
Malaysia 1998; taken the day I started
is my before (February 2000) and after (February 2001) passport photos
"BeccaBell" on our Message Board!