“WeightWatchers Workshops empowered me to reclaim my health”

Cara R., 35, has lost 102 lbs* since joining WeightWatchers in September 2019.
Published January 15, 2021

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

As told to Katerina Gkionis

My “why” for signing up: I gained 68 pounds during my second pregnancy, which was more than a healthy amount for me. My habits definitely had something to do with that. When I felt tired or stressed—which was often, considering that I had a young child, a full-time job as a therapist, and a few side hustles—I’d often find myself eating straight out of an ice cream carton balanced on my belly.

I had been a WW member twice before: once before my wedding day, and then after I had my first child. Now life was more demanding than ever. My husband and I knew that if I didn’t find a way to focus on my wellbeing, we’d all sink. In September 2019—once I recovered from my C-section—I went back to the WW Studio. I wanted the support and camaraderie of my WeightWatchers Workshop to get myself back on track.

My biggest challenge going in: My history with eating was very emotion-driven. Every time I experienced a strong feeling—anger, happiness, excitement—food was the first thought that came into my head. Like, “I’ve had a hard day; I need lasagna,” or, “I’m feeling hot and uncomfortable, so let me have ice cream.” When I took my first steps back on the program, I knew I would need help with that pattern.

How WeightWatchers set me up for success: As I walked back into my Workshop, I saw Louise—my WW Coach—and the friends I had missed during my time away. Re-entering that space felt like a warm hug. In my younger years, I spent a lot of time saying to myself, “There’s something wrong with me that I think of pizza when I’m sad.” Workshops help me feel less alone and allow me to learn from others’ experiences. For instance, one of my fellow members said that her journey was all about “reclaiming” herself. That resonated with me: For three years, my body had been a vessel for producing life—it’s been through a lot. I decided I wasn’t going to beat myself up for the “negative” things I wanted to change. I decided to focus on the healthy habits I was building, like taking time to prep my meals and doing workouts in the WW app.

What I eat in a day:
BreakfastBagel with cream cheese; French vanilla iced coffee with extra cream and sugarOatmeal with blueberries and strawberries; coffee with nonfat milk
LunchTurkey clubSalad with grilled chicken, lettuce, spinach, carrots, and red onion
DinnerChinese takeout like sesame chicken with riceChicken stir-fry with peppers, onions, and garlic, and brown rice on the side
SnacksFruit snacksFresh apples or peaches

The extra support I found: When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, we switched to Virtual Workshops due to stay-at-home orders. Logging in each week and seeing everyone’s faces on my screen was a source of comfort. Although my WW Studio has since reopened and I’m back to in-person Workshops with my regular crew, I still love logging into the Black women’s Virtual Workshop I discovered during lockdown. What’s so beautiful about this group is that there’s an unconscious understanding among the members there; we don't need to talk about how Black women are perceived or what’s expected of us. This Virtual Workshop is another space for community, laughter, and love.

The personal goal I totally crushed: Before we had children, my husband and I would wake up at 5 a.m. a few days a week to go on runs or walks. Part of reclaiming my body was getting those moments back. I started waking up early again to go for short outdoor runs while my husband stayed home with the kids. This past summer, Louise asked me if I had a running goal in mind. Without missing a beat, I said, “I’m going to run a 10K.” I’m not even sure where that came from! But setting a goal helped me achieve that—and then some. I completed a half marathon last month!

How I’m living life today: Having lost 102 pounds*, I feel good about the path I’m on. But that’s not to say that I don’t have moments when I struggle. If I’m feeling like I want to emotionally eat, I’ve learned to think about why I want that type of food. I say to myself, “Do you just need a break? Are you lonely or stressed?” Sometimes the best thing for me is to call a friend; sometimes I’ll decide to have a serving of ice cream and track it. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that no matter how busy you are, your health is worth your time, energy, and focus.