“As a new mom, I needed self-compassion—not a sketchy quick fix”

Olivia S., 31, has lost 63 lbs* since joining WeightWatchers in August 2018.
Published October 5, 2021

*People following the WeightWatchers program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds/week. Olivia lost weight on a prior program..

As told to Katerina Gkionis

After my daughter was born in 2018, I had an urge to get my body back immediately. I arrived home from the hospital and the very next day attempted to try on all the pre-baby clothes in my closet. Not the best idea. I had gained about 70 pounds during my pregnancy, and that weight doesn't just disappear when you give birth. Nothing fit—I couldn’t even bend over in my pants.

The early weeks in my postpartum body were tough; I wasn’t thinking realistically. I even tried a restrictive diet for a few days, which ended up interfering with my milk supply. Clearly, I needed a healthier approach. I had been a WeightWatchers member on and off over the years, so I already knew I liked the program. I restarted my Premium membership that August, two months after my daughter was born.

My biggest challenge going in: During my pregnancy, people were constantly encouraging me to eat. To be honest, it was a little fun. My husband and I fell into a habit of ordering takeout every night—burgers, fries, pizza, pasta. I was eating for two, and portion sizes definitely weren’t top of mind. But once the baby arrived, I found it hard to go back to eating for one again. I was stuck in that pattern and a little overwhelmed.

How WeightWatchers set me up for success: At my first Workshop as a returning member, I was really honest with the group: My body had changed, and I was miserable. That’s when my Coach gave me a really powerful piece of advice: “After this Workshop, go buy yourself a pair of pants that fit. You deserve to feel comfortable in your skin right now.” That totally set the tone for me. I started to understand that self-acceptance is important even as you’re working toward change.

I was also happy to see some other moms in the room. Hearing their food and recipe ideas was helpful because these members were facing some of the same challenges I was. Shortly after that Workshop, my husband stayed home with our daughter while I ran out to the grocery store. I grabbed simple ingredients I could literally just toss on the grill: veggies like zucchini and peppers, along with lean cuts of chicken and steak. I got turkey from the deli counter for quick lunch sandwiches. The barcode scanner in the app made the whole shopping trip super easy.

BreakfastBagel with cream cheeseTwo fried eggs with shredded hash browns
LunchFast-food fried chicken sandwich with French friesTurkey sandwich on low-carb bread with leftover roasted vegetables
DinnerTakeout hamburger with French friesHomemade burgers made with lean ground beef and a side of grilled eggplant and zucchini
SnacksCookies and cakeVanilla meringues and light popcorn

The tool that keeps me on track: Getting a kitchen scale was a game changer. As I settled into the program, I didn’t make dramatic changes to the types of foods I was eating—I still loved to have pasta, chicken, and steak. The shift was in my understanding of portion sizes. Instead of trying to eyeball how much I was eating in the moment, I could use the scale to plan meals using actual measurements. I also leaned on my list of ZeroPoint™ foods to make every meal super satisfying.

How I redefined “exercise”: I’ve never been a fitness lover, and you won’t see me running marathons anytime soon. But WeightWatchers helped me see that all kinds of physical activity can be beneficial. I started putting my daughter in the stroller and taking long walks every day—nothing structured, just cruising. Sometimes this was the only way I could get her to sleep, and we’d be outside for over an hour at a time. Moving made me feel good, and now I know it all counts!

My biggest stumbling block: WeightWatchers recommends weighing yourself regularly—either weekly or once a day. I found that for me, daily wasn’t a great fit. I would fixate on the numbers and get upset if I thought I had gained a pound, even though I know it’s totally normal for weight to vary a bit with your menstrual cycle, hydration level, and other day-to-day factors. Why was I torturing myself? Now I follow my Coach’s advice to focus on my choices each day and step on the scale just once a week. This helps me stay on top of my progress without stressing over every little fluctuation.

The lesson I’m carrying forward: If you had told me back in 2018 that it would take two years to lose the baby weight, I admit I would’ve felt pretty frustrated. But now I understand the slow and steady approach: You’re not depriving yourself to fit into your jeans. You’re not forcing down plates of steamed broccoli every day. You’re giving yourself the space to develop healthy habits in the context of your regular life. Having kept off the 63 pounds* I lost for more than a year now, I’m proud of myself for making sustainable changes. My health deserves more than a “quick fix.” And I’ll never forget that again.