Ashley, 30

Lost 70 lb* with Weight Watchers
Published June 6, 2016

“I used to look at other girls and say, ‘I wish I looked like that.’ I used to dream of being somebody else. Now, there is one person I want to look like: me!”

"I grew up in a very rich, affluent community. In the school cafeteria, the girls would sit around the table and drink diet soda—and that would be their lunch. That’s it. As for me, I was a big girl, and I was scared to eat in front of those other girls. It got to the point where I had a friend carry my lunch tray in the cafeteria so no one could see what I was eating. I grew up in an Italian family—all occasions involved food, and lots of it. To add to that, I was born with a heart condition—I’ve had four open-heart surgeries—so I couldn’t be athletic. I was teased because of my size, and that affected my body image. It has taken a long time for me to rebuild my confidence and believe in my own self-worth."

"But my weight-loss journey helped me get stronger each day. I felt that I was improving all the time, and that helped me get to the point where I don’t have self-hatred anymore. I can go to a restaurant and eat by myself; I can feel confident talking to people; I can leave a dressing room without tears in my eyes; I can wear a low-cut shirt without being self-conscious about the zipper scar from my surgery. Now I’ll proudly eat a piece of pizza and anyone can watch if they’d like—it doesn’t bother me. I finally feel like myself."