Community and self-compassion fired up my confidence

Jennifer M., 38, has lost 69 lbs* since joining WW in November 2018.
Published February 1, 2021 | Updated November 2, 2022

*People following the WeightWatchers weight-loss program can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. Jennifer, a WW Ambassador, lost weight on prior program.

As told to Katerina Gkionis

As a teacher, I love what I do. But by fall of 2018, my job had become physically challenging. Over the previous two years, I had gained about 70 pounds due to a pattern of stress eating brought on by anxiety. I’d grab food, eat in my car, then go home and have another meal.

My weight climbed to the point where I started teaching classes while seated just to relieve the pain in my feet. I didn’t feel good about myself. All my healthy habits sort of went out the window, including the spin classes I loved. I was too embarrassed by my weight to continue showing up.

A shift finally happened for me that October, when a fellow teacher tagged me in an Instagram photo taken during our school’s Spirit Week activities. At first, I didn’t even recognize myself in the image. Then I looked closer and realized the person wearing that too-snug, extra-large sweatshirt was me. It was a real wake-up call.

I signed up for WeightWatchers the next day. I had recently started seeing a therapist to manage my anxiety. My hope was that WeightWatchers could round out my efforts and help me get back to a healthier eating pattern.

My first day as a WeightWatchers member was November 1, 2018. I had tried WeightWatchers in the past to lose weight for my wedding but left the program shortly after I got married. When I rejoined, I was barely making my own meals—restaurants and takeout were my thing. I told myself I had to get back to basics. I went food shopping. I knew I liked light English muffins and ground turkey and chicken, so I started building meals around those items and prepping lunches to bring to school. Now I call myself a recovering horrible meal prepper.

What I eat in a day

BreakfastScrambled eggs, hash browns, toast, plus pancakes and a waffle shared with my husband“Yoat” bowl with old-fashioned oats, Greek yogurt, protein powder, peanut butter, strawberries, blueberries, sprinkles, and chocolate chips
LunchLarge mac ’n’ cheese with a large Caesar saladThai-style salad bowl with mixed greens, grilled chicken, and spicy noodles
DinnerBacon-avocado cheeseburger with fries, plus mozzarella sticks and a quesadillaLean turkey burger topped with avocado and turkey bacon, plus a side of delicata squash fries
SnacksIce cream sundae with extra peanut butter sauce; candyProtein oat bar, frozen blueberries

A few weeks in, I started sharing my progress on my Instagram page. I threw myself into the WeightWatchers Instagram community, messaging with members who commented on my photos. Some powerful relationships came out of that. Just last week, I went to brunch with several WeightWatchers friends I met on Instagram!

I also went back to my favourite cycling studio. The instructor even remembered me. “Jen, it’s so good to see you!” she said. I felt like I was home. The experience helped bring back my confidence and gave me another beneficial activity to focus on.

My journey wasn’t just about losing weight; it was about building healthy habits. I had times when I felt like quitting, when healthy choices felt too hard. Those were the times when I’d hear a small voice inside: “Keep going,” it said, “and try one more time tomorrow.” Those tomorrows build up. Each day is an opportunity.

My life has changed in so many ways these past couple of years. Obviously, I could sit here and talk about how WeightWatchers gave me the tools I needed to lose 69 pounds*. That’s true! But it’s also given me incredible relationships with a community of people. These relationships are a critical part of my journey, and I’m grateful to WeightWatchers for helping me build them.