Community and self-compassion fired up my confidence
*People following the WW program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds/week. Jennifer, a WW Ambassador, lost weight on prior program and myWW and is continuing on myWW+.
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 WW the next day. I had recently started seeing a therapist to manage my anxiety. My hope was that WW could round out my efforts and help me get back to a healthier eating pattern.
My first day as a Digital member was November 1, 2018. I had tried WW 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
|Breakfast||Scrambled 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|
|Lunch||Large mac ’n’ cheese with a large Caesar salad||Thai-style salad bowl with mixed greens, grilled chicken, and spicy noodles|
|Dinner||Bacon-avocado cheeseburger with fries, plus mozzarella sticks and a quesadilla||Lean turkey burger topped with avocado and turkey bacon, plus a side of delicata squash fries|
|Snacks||Ice cream sundae with extra peanut butter sauce; candy||Protein oat bar, frozen blueberries|
A few weeks in, I started sharing my progress on my Instagram page. I threw myself into the WW 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 WW friends I met on Instagram!
I also went back to my favorite 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 WW 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 WW for helping me build them.