We've got another inspiring real life Weight Watchers success story for you today, from Janelle S. As a former "yo-yo" dieter whose weight struggles began early in life I could relate so much to Janelle's story. I think you will too. Her advice/words of wisdom are are worth their weight in gold 🙂 Enjoy!
Tell Us A Little Bit About Your Weight Struggle
Like so many people, I fought being overweight most of my life. I had success in Middle School with Weight Watchers, but did not keep it up. Over the years, I tried different diets and would lose weight, but was a classic "yo-yo" dieter with no discipline. I am definitely an emotional eater, and - living alone as an empty nester - would often eat a (big!) bag of chips or other incredibly unhealthy food for dinner, telling myself it was inconvenient to cook for one. When my baby was getting ready to turn 21, however, I knew it was finally time to lose the "baby weight" and make a lifestyle change for the long haul!
What Was Your Wake-Up Call Or "A-Ha Moment" That Caused You To Sign Up With Weight Watchers?
In 2012, I attended a black-tie dinner for work that I go to, each year. I purchased a "Spanx" to wear under my dress, to smooth out the lumps. Squeezing all that fat, however, means it has to go SOMEWHERE, so if it doesn't go up or down, it has to go in. It was the most uncomfortable thing I had ever worn, and I felt like I was being squeezed to death! Standing up during the cocktail hour was barely tolerable, but when I sat down for dinner, it was literally pinching my insides. I got up, ran to the ladies room and yanked that thing off faster than you can possibly imagine. I threw away my $38 Spanx and returned to the dinner. On the way home in the car that night, I knew that was IT. I was so angry at myself for letting my weight get so totally out of control…and knew it was time to address it, rather than just stuff it or cover it up somehow. That was on a Friday night, and I joined Weight Watchers the very next Monday.
How Have Your Eating Habits Changed Since Weight Watchers? What Did You Eat Before And What Are You Eating Now?
I now CARE about what I put in my body, and I won't waste points on something I'm not going to love or appreciate. It has to be "worth it," for me! My fridge is always full of fresh fruits and vegetables, and opening the refrigerator door and seeing that makes me feel very happy - like I am on a good, sustainable path. I even have a "no-point" shelf of pre-bagged foods in my fridge, for packing lunches and snacks. My life was full of convenience and junk foods before, and now, I plan ahead, I weigh, measure and track everything, and I truly enjoy eating more.
If I am having a day where I feel like I need "quantity" for some reason, I'll pick foods that I can eat a lot of, like a huge salad with some grilled chicken, and I'll treat myself with some tasty add-ons that I know are good for me, like thinly sliced almonds, blueberries and strawberries, feta cheese crumbles…and a good sugar-free balsamic dressing that will give me taste without sacrificing a lot of points. I will take dressing with me to restaurants, so that I can eat more of what I enjoy. I love Weight Watchers because it is all about choices and portion control...nothing is really "off the table," you just have to plan for it. I find that good food is visually appealing, as well as tasty! ( I love a colorful plate). No more big bags of Cheetos for dinner, or binging on Snickers bars (Ugh! Yes I did that.) And after three years, now, (one to lose 84 pounds and two on maintenance) I have found that what I consider a treat has also changed to much more healthy fare. I really enjoy putting good food in my body!
What Is The Difference In Your Fitness Before Weight Watchers And Now?
I now HAVE some fitness! I have never exercised before. During my very first Weight Watchers meeting, however, the leader said that exercising would help the weight loss journey go faster, and she always stressed the importance of "moving." I took that to heart, starting in the little fitness room at work for 30 minutes on the treadmill every day, walking at 3.0 miles an hour, which was all I could manage. I worked myself up, however, and once I was sure I'd keep it up...I bought a membership at a gym. I bought a FitBit , which I also love, and it was ON!! I'm a cardio girl, treadmill (walking or running), elliptical, Stairmaster...but I have religiously kept it up 4-5 times a week since Day 1. I have gone from a heavy Size 18 (I was pushing it but didn't want to go up) to a comfortable Size 6, and - although I can't say I LOVE to exercise - I love how it makes me feel and what it does for me, so I'm committed for the long haul!
What Has Been The Biggest Change/Payoff For You So Far?
For one, if someone had ever said to me I'd be able to run 3 miles, I would have just laughed, before. But I proved to myself that I could set goals and achieve them - with a lion's heart!
The biggest payoff - I think - is that I decided it was time to take care of myself and do something really, really good for ME. And when you do that, amazing things happen in your life. You feel better, you are genuinely happy, and life is just good. You radiate that, and it comes back to you in so many ways. People at work watched my journey and always provided such love and encouragement, and - I'm not going to lie - I LOVE the double-takes and comments from people who haven't seen me in a while!
My Favorite Recipe
Very simple - but a packge of dry Ranch Dressing Mix and a cup of Plain, Non-Fat Greek Yogurt makes a great dressing or sour cream substitute for some wonderful flavor. I use it on a baked potato instead of sour cream or butter, and it really helps stretch out those points!
How Much Weight Have You Lost? How Long Did It Take You To Lose It?
I lost 84 pounds, and it took me almost exactly a year. My weight fluctuates a bit between 82-84 pounds lost, but I have kept it off for two years.
Any Advice and/or Words Of Wisdom You'd Like To Share?
- Track religiously, weigh and measure everything!
- Keep portion-controlled snacks at the ready, and munch on some no-point goodies (baby carrots, sugar snap peas, or a good, crunchy apple) before a meal to help take the "edge" off and fill you up.
- Combine protein and fiber each meal or snack to help keep you satisfied.
- Keep your workout gear in your car every day - so that you can take advantage of whatever time you have. Anything is better than nothing - you just need to move!
- Stick to your guns - and stick to what works for YOU! (It won't be the same for everyone.) Don't let people push food off on you that you really don't want - YOU are in control!
- Love yourself - you are AWESOME!
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