Moving On, Slimming Down

 Sometimes I surprise myself with what I’m able to do now. 
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
When Linda tragically lost her twin sister in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, she became depressed and lethargic, putting on more than 30 pounds. She later joined Weight Watchers and learned to eat healthier and lead a more active life.

In Linda’s words

After 9/11 my weight was the last thing on my mind. I just laid around and did no physical activity. I was on various medications to treat my anemia and high blood pressure. Diabetes runs in my family, so it was when my father passed away from diabetes-related complications, that I really started focusing on my own health. I chose to try Weight Watchers meetings because I had friends and family members who had seen success with the Plan. I knew it was doable.

Making changes

I wouldn’t say I was a poor eater, but my portions were out of control. I don’t really like starches, but I love meat. I realized I could have an entire meal of meat and I knew that wasn’t right. I also wasn’t a huge fan of vegetables. One of the harder things was going grocery shopping and buying the things I knew I should be eating, not the foods I wanted to eat. Going to the meetings and chatting with other members about what to cook really helped in that regard.

Now I like a lot more leafy greens, like spinach, collard greens and kale — and I cook them in a wok that I got for Christmas! I’m also a big believer in one-pot meals. I make a delicious chicken and broccoli pasta dish that I learned about in my meeting.

Getting active

Since joining Weight Watchers I started running. I found that it really helps to clear my head. I started on the treadmill and then moved outside. I ran my first 5K about two years ago! Before, I wasn’t even able to walk outside due to poor circulation and bad leg cramps. When I had my physical last year, my doctor said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep it up!” Sometimes I’m surprise myself with what I’m able to do now.

Renewed confidence

This past year on 9/11, my daughter, my sister’s daughter and I took a trip to the Bahamas so we wouldn’t have to be in New York on that day. And for the first time as an adult, I wore a two-piece bathing suit. I got out on the beach and was so proud of myself. That alone was so inspiring to me. I look at the pictures and know this is me now.

Surpassing goals

When I first joined Weight Watchers I told myself I just wanted to lose 20 or 25 pounds. Because I’m so tall, extra weight doesn’t show up as obviously as on other people. When I hit the 25 pound mark, my eating habits had already changed and my exercise routine was set, so the weight just kept coming off.

Losing weight has made me feel good about myself. I realized I was getting older and that I wanted to live longer. I look back on my father’s habits. He wasn’t really living because he had to monitor this, he couldn’t eat that, he couldn’t do this activity. I don’t want to live like that. I want to enjoy life. Now I know how to live in a healthy way. I feel so good about myself emotionally, physically, mentally. It’s definitely increased my self-esteem. It makes me excited to wake up every day.

Read more of Linda’s story in the July/August 2014 issue of Weight Watchers magazine.