“I never gave up on myself"
Charlene's weight loss story
Name: Charlene Smart
Weight loss: 16.5kg
How long it took: 34 weeks
How she did it: Group Coaching at Riccarton, NZ
Before & Now
“ I’m more confident, outgoing and willing to try new things. I don’t look for approval from others anymore. ”
Have you always struggled with your weight?
I was a little bit pudgy when I was young but by the time I got to high school, my weight was reasonably okay. It was when I went to university that I became lazy. I then put on most of the weight when I met my ex-partner – I’d always eat the same amount as him. I think a lot of people gain weight because they’re unhappy, but I was really happy.
What made you join Weight Watchers?
I had been through the Weight Watchers doors three times before. My trigger moment was when I was getting ready for a friend’s party and realised that I’d gained so much weight I couldn’t fit into my largest pair of jeans. I ended up wearing them but they were extremely uncomfortable. The seams had started to come apart and I was literally bursting out of them. I realised I wasn’t as happy as I thought I was.
What made this time different?
In the past I’d lose a little bit of weight on the Program and think I could do it by myself, stop going to the Group Coaching and gain the weight again – it was a vicious cycle. This time I made the commitment to go every week, stay for the meeting and work on getting to where I wanted to be. The most significant change for me was portion sizes – I used to eat twice as much as what I needed.
Did you have other goals beyond the scales?
I’d never had the courage to run because I felt that people would be looking at me and thinking, “Why’s the fat girl running down the road?” When I started to lose weight I thought, “I’m going to give this a go.” I was nearly at Goal when I completed my first half marathon and now I’ve completed another two.
What was your biggest challenge?
It took me three months to lose my last 2kg to Goal! That was probably the hardest time in my whole journey. In the past I would’ve left the Program, thinking I could do it alone, but this time I wasn’t prepared to give up on myself again.
How do you feel now?
I feel amazing! I didn’t quite realise how far I’d come until I had these photos taken for the magazine and saw myself in the mirror with my hair and make-up done and a beautiful dress on. I find it hard to say that I look great but now I know that I really do look and feel great. When I hit Goal I rewarded myself with a size 10 pair of jeans.
Describe the new you
I’ve found my true identity and I have a better attitude towards myself. I’m more confident, outgoing and willing to try new things. I don’t look for approval from others anymore.
Charlene's 5 steps for weight-loss success:
- Don't 'pre-load' you fork - At mealtimes, take a break between forkfuls instead of pre-loading your fork with the next mouthful as you chew.
- Bites,licks, tastes - I once went to Group Coaching in New York and learnt about ‘BLT’. The Leader was talking ‘Bites, Licks and Tastes’. You have to track every one of them, because they all add up.
- DIY ice-cream - I use a Yonanas machine – it turns frozen bananas into soft-serve-style ‘ice-cream’.
- Keep meals interesting - I like to mix it up for dinner. I always enjoy cooking recipes from the Weight Watchers cookbooks and trying new dishes whenever I feel I’m in a food rut.
- Commit to you - You have to be ready to lose weight and make the commitment. Stay for meetings because it’s the most important part. It’s those times when you don’t want to go which are the times that you really should, for that group support.