Maria, 29

Lost 24 lb* with Weight Watchers
Published June 7, 2016

“I didn’t weigh myself the week of my wedding, even though I knew I’d made leaps and bounds of progress over the past year. I tuned in to how I felt, not a number that I saw.”

"When I was younger, I developed a lot faster than other girls. I was in dance and cheerleading, and usually girls in these activities want to be tiny and petite, and I struggled with that. When I was 13, I remember another girl’s mom saying to me at dance class, “Maria, you would just be so much better if you weren’t so big.” It stopped me, and I thought, “Big? What do you mean?” My mom is a sweet woman, and in the softest possible way, she explained to me that I wasn’t the smallest of the group. I thought to myself, “Wow, my body is not right.” Over the years, my body changed, my weight kept fluctuating—and I was very conscious of it."

"In my 20s, when I started having more major social events to go to, I’d try a juice cleanse in the weeks leading up to each of them. Then, I’d dress up and look my best, always maintaining the facade that I was thin and in shape. But deep down, I could remember all of the days where I canceled plans because I didn’t feel good about my body. As my wedding day approached, I knew I didn’t want to feel that way—there was no room for a meltdown. I had been a WW member off and on for years, but in January 2015, I started tracking again. It took me a while to realize that this was a lifestyle, not a diet, which was hard at first, but I prevailed."

"I changed my attitude—I started to realize that if I have one bad day, that won’t make me gain 10 pounds. I can lose weight by eating real, whole foods. I can be conscious of my habits, without becoming obsessed, and that’s very freeing.Now, I feel like I’m participating in life more—I no longer have meltdowns in the morning because I feel bad about my body. I can go to fitness classes in form-fitting clothing—and feel great about it. I’m participating in life more, and I’m excited about it."