Success Stories - Rebecca

Please click on thumbnails to see the full size photo.

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 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 ( 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.

NEWYEAR.JPG (108423 bytes)Here I am (left) on New Year's Eve in my NEW size "8" dress! NEWYEAR2.JPG (121758 bytes)
Alistair and I are in the photo to the right.


Dublin Nov 1997.jpg (30032 bytes)     Malaysia July 1998.jpg (208770 bytes)     The day I started WW - April 3rd 2000.jpg (176935 bytes)     Rebecca in Piazza Navona, Rome Oct 1999.jpg (151256 bytes)               75lbs lost celebration!.jpg (46668 bytes)

Photos - L-R:< taken in Dublin 1997; taken in Malaysia 1998; taken the day I started 
Weight Watchers - April 3, 2000; taken in Piazza Navona, Rome, Oct 1999; 75 lbs down (next 3)

Passport photos before and after.jpg (9452 bytes)

Here is my before (February 2000) and after (February 2001) passport photos 
which really show the difference in my face that losing weight has made.

Update 9/22/01

I reached goal on 16 April 2001, 54 weeks after I first joined Weight Watchers. I declared goal at 144 lbs, a total loss of 90.5 lbs. That week I also had the immense thrill of meeting 43 other Zonies and sharing my story at the First Annual DWLZ conference in Seattle. What a way to celebrate!
Becca 9.22.01.jpg (18099 bytes)
Since reaching goal I have continued to lose slowly, and as at my September 2001 weigh-in, my total loss stands at 97 lbs. The loss of the last few pounds has been most noticeable in my face, which has acquired much more definition - I have suddenly found cheekbones! 

Maintenance has gone pretty well so far, although inevitably there have been ups and downs as I have gradually begun adjusting to this new phase of my journey. I continue to journal, exercise 4 days each week and drink my weight in ounces of water daily. But it is BeccaCruiseDress9.22.01.jpg (18285 bytes) nice having the freedom to eat a little more! I post daily on the Lifetimers & Maintenance forum on Dotti's Message Board - it's my main source of support, and a good way to keep myself honest and accountable. My body could still do with some toning, but I am wearing size 6/8 these days, and all in all I am very happy with the way I look now. Alistair and I are planning to go on a Caribbean cruise in November - here I am modeling my formal cruise dress (left). To the Right is a photo of me in my new "boots" - taken 10/17/01.

I've been delighted to hear from so many people who have read my story and found it encouraging. This journey of weight loss and self discovery has been so worthwhile - life just gets better and better!

"BeccaBell" on our Message Board!

Return to Success Stories