Success Stories in Progress
(part 1)

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

January 4, 2005

Ever felt like you were in a “losing” battle? Well, these Weight Watchers Members and active message board users are not only fighting the good fight, they’re winning the weight war. And though their ultimate goals still glimmer on the horizon, at this very point in their weight-loss transit, they’re living proof that the journey to self-reclamation is as important as the final outcome. Read on for inspiration from these two amazing successes-in- progress.

“At 390 pounds, walking from my house to my car was a challenge,” says Diane, who is 160 pounds lighter* than when she began her Weight Watchers commitment just over two years ago. And she’s still shrinking. “My goal weight according to Weight Watchers is 174 pounds. Realistically, if I could get under 200 pounds and stay there, having incorporated the tools I’ve learned along the way, I would be delighted. It’s definitely a day-by-day thing though. I just have to go forward and embrace the success I’ve had.”

She’ll be the first to admit the challenge continues. “The first 100 pounds flew off, the next 50 squeezed off, the next 50 - it’s really become an effort.* I’m in better shape than I’ve been in probably my entire adult life, but it’s tough to stay motivated when the big motivators, like health and quality of life, are not there to such a large extent. You have to dig really deep.”

What keeps her going?

“Simple things, like walking into a mall and catching a reflection of myself in a mirror and saying ‘not bad’ as opposed to ‘Oh my God.’ Playing with my dog. And going to a theater and not worrying that I’m going to come home with black-and-blue hips from squishing myself into a seat. But the biggest continued motivation is when you’re feeling good.”

Goal Weights?

“I don’t really think about specific goals until I get close. But on the big markers I had bigger rewards. At 100 pounds lost, my family took a cruise to Alaska and that was really the epitome of what a vibrant life could be. We hiked and white-water rafted. On past vacations I’d always be an embarrassment because I couldn’t walk anywhere and we’d constantly have to find benches for me to sit down and rest.”

Snack Tricks

“My son complains that there is never ’anything’ to eat in the house, meaning cookies, candies, chips and junk. I just don’t keep that stuff around. We have healthy snacks. But he also now calls me ‘his skinny mom,’ which obviously I’m not...yet. But when he hugs me he can feel me in a skinnier way than he did for the first 16 years of his life. My family is thrilled with the person I’ve become.”

Handling Special Occasions

“I take the 90/10 approach. If I’m strictly adhering to the plan and doing everything I can to the best of my ability 90 percent of the time, the other 10 percent I can enjoy myself and not worry about it. But when the party is over, I make myself ’flip the switch’ and it’s back to doing what I have to do, to be the person I have to be.”

Support Systems

“Having others who face the same struggles along the way, especially the 200+ Pounds to Lose board, really helps. No one other than someone who has 200 extra pounds on them knows what life is in that particular genre. We hold each other up.”

“People just starting out who say ‘You’ve been so successful and it seems so easy for you’ should know it’s not easy for me. I work at it every waking minute of every day. It’s always a fear...that this is a dream and I’m going to wake up and I’ll be 400 pounds again. But I have the motivation to continue and though I know it’ll always be hard, it’s something that’s worth it. I’m worth it.”

“I keep going because I made a promise to myself. I deserve this, I fight for this and I will survive this battle with myself,” says Priscilla, who has shed nearly 100 pounds* and is within 30 pounds of her goal.

Joining Weight Watchers in March 2003, 4 days shy of her 25th birthday, Priscilla made a commitment to take control of her life. “I am successful professionally and personally, but at my highest weight, I could see the excess pounds starting to negatively impact both aspects of my life.” The tipping point came after an annual evaluation at work. Priscilla discovered that comments on her eating habits had made their way into her human resources file. “Nothing hit me harder than the fact that in spite of working 12- to 14-hour days, I might not succeed further in my career because of my appearance and food issues. That was unacceptable to me − I had to take action.”

Playing with her food

“The hardest thing for me to beat has been boredom. I combat that with ‘Vegetable a Week.’” In this “game” Priscilla chooses a vegetable and vows to eat it in at least one meal per day for seven days, discovering new recipes along the way. “It takes some creativity and sometimes I make some spectacular flops, but I’m lucky there are so many vegetables. By the time I get around to a vegetable a second time, I’ve forgotten that I wasn’t particularly fond of it and rediscover it in a different way.”

Rewards for trying

“Every week I stick with it, I treat myself to something small. I’ve found that I need a treat (magazine, book, shirt) even more on the bad weeks to keep me going. And the fact is I deserve the reward because I may have to write in my journal that I ate 60
POINTS®, values, but at least I tried and it wasn’t 100 POINTS values.”

Handling Special Occasions

“I volunteer to do a lot of the cooking on special occasions so I can control the extras that go into the food, like butter and oil. But ultimately, I have found it comes down to a matter of trusting yourself. If you want something and are going to feel miserable if you don’t have it, it’s better to have a small portion instead of fighting off a binge later.”

Support Systems

"“There was a definite learning curve for everyone in my family, but we’ve helped each other. They now provide me with healthy choices at family parties, and I help them by lightening up foods.” Her Mom even joined the Meetings. “It was the ultimate show of support to me.”

But it’s the backing of the Weight Watchers community that Priscilla really lauds. “Weight loss is a struggle regardless of the amount of weight to lose. Every person I have ever met in a meeting or on the board has made an impression on me. We have cried, cringed and laughed together. I truly could not have been so successful without all of them.”

*Results not typical

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