“My confidence soared when I found healthy balance”

Chelsea M., 24, has lost 38 lbs* since joining WW in May 2019.
Published January 15, 2021 | Updated November 3, 2022

*People following the WeightWatchers weight-loss program can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. Chelsea lost weight on prior program and continued on WeightWatchers.

As told to Katerina Gkionis

My “why” for signing up: After I completed my first year of law school in May 2019, I was so excited to celebrate. I pulled out my summer clothes from storage, threw some outfits in a suitcase, and hopped on a plane for a trip to the Caribbean with my girlfriends. Upon arriving, though, I discovered the clothing I had packed was too tight. I ended up wearing stretchy biker shorts the entire time and was in a terrible mood. Something had to change. A friend of mine had once suggested we try keto together, but I knew that wasn’t sustainable for me. I had heard about another friend’s success with WeightWatchers, so a few days after I got back from my trip, I joined the program.

My biggest challenge going in: That first year of law school was a lot. In addition to having a full schedule of classes, I was studying in the library seven days a week. I deeply wanted to excel, and my health and habits fell to the side. I snacked on chips and usually ate lunch and dinner on the fly, grabbing things like pizza and quesadillas with my classmates. A subtle weight gain of about 15 pounds crept on—and I wasn’t at my ideal weight to begin with. In devoting so much energy to my studies, I wasn’t paying attention to the full view of my wellbeing. My goal in joining WeightWatchers was to implement better time management and take control.

What I eat in a day:

BreakfastTwo egg and cheese biscuits with hazelnut iced coffeeOmelet with red peppers, onion, mushroom, jalapeño, and reduced-fat cheese with “proffee” (espresso plus a protein shake)
LunchChicken quesadillaLow-carb wrap with grilled chicken breast, raw veggies like banana peppers and tomato, and spreadable cheese
DinnerTakeout cheese pizzaTwo-Ingredient-Dough Pizza topped with chicken sausage, turkey pepperoni, tomato sauce, onion, sliced bell pepper, and mozzarella
SnacksChipsFruit and a protein bar

How WeightWatchers set me up for success: During the first few weeks of WW, I learned a lot about meal prepping—and how getting in the habit could help me have good things to eat on my busy days. I kept it super simple: For breakfast, I learned to make quick meals at home like scrambled eggs with sautéed veggies; for lunch, I started bringing a homemade turkey or chicken wrap to the library. I still took breaks with my friends—I usually just ate what I brought with me. And when I didn’t bring lunch? I tracked whatever I ordered for my meal and went on with my day.

About four months into the program, I set up an Instagram profile dedicated to my journey and began connecting with a whole virtual community. It was interesting: In some ways I felt more comfortable sharing with my online friends than the friends in my personal life! Sometimes there’s a sense of shame that comes with feeling like you have a problem with food. My virtual friends really understood that and cheered me on.

How healthier choices made my whole day better: After I lost my first 10 pounds*, I decided to try incorporating exercise into my day. Along with my sister, I signed up for a fitness class that met at 6:15 every morning. The workout combines treadmill, rowing machine, and work on the mat. I wanted that intensity—even though I had to work with the coach to build my fitness gradually. Before WW, I never thought I had time for anything but schoolwork. Once I started planning out my schedule to prioritize my well-being, I realized I could fit in workouts, too. They help me start my day on the right foot.

My most surprising non-scale victory: One day at the beginning of 2020, when I had lost about 25 pounds*, I put on a belt and was shocked to find it was too big on me. I burst into happy tears—I just couldn’t believe it. When I first started WW, none of my jeans fit. I only bought the belt in fall of 2019 when they started getting loose. Now here I was, having to cut a new hole in that belt just so I could get dressed that day! That moment was really meaningful. I had worked hard to achieve a healthier balance in my life, and it was actually paying off.

What my life looks like today: With stay-at-home guidelines still in effect due to the pandemic, I’m currently finishing my last year of law school from my home office. And instead of going to my regular fitness sessions, I now have a Peloton treadmill and work out at home—I just completed my 50th run! Beyond the 38 pounds* I’ve lost, I feel completely different now. I’m more sure of myself, more fired up. And my confidence doesn’t come from looking a certain way; I feel confident because I’ve proven to myself that I can do this: I can excel in law school; I can adapt to difficult circumstances; I can take care of myself and thrive. Who knows what I’ll accomplish next?