Knowledge Is Power

 Just one week in, when I lost 5 pounds without significantly changing my habits, I knew this was going to work for me. 
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
Being on a network game show entails a lot more than flexing your mental muscles; there are also oodles of cameras to smile for and an audience of 10 million per episode on the other side. When Jason’s nine-episode stint on Jeopardy! earned him a spot in the Tournament of Champions, he decided his appearance could use an overhaul before his return to the show. A conversation with his dad, a doctor, brought Jason to

Not only was Jason 20 pounds lighter when his next on-air appearance rolled around, but he has gone on to drop nearly 90 total. The simple practice of tracking equipped this perpetual learner with the info he needed to make smart choices. Impressed with the sustainability of the Plan, Jason has been able to revamp his health merely by making those small, positive changes that add up over time. When did you first decide to try losing weight with Weight Watchers?

Jason: I had been a contestant on Jeopardy! and done quite well. I actually qualified for the Tournament of Champions. I was having a conversation with my dad and mentioned that I wanted to look a little better for the cameras. He’s actually a cardiologist, and he told me that a lot of his patients had lost a good amount of weight using Weight Watchers Online. He thought it was something that would appeal to me and that I should give it a try. I took a little time to think about it, checked out and said, “Let’s do it.” What were some of the habits you were trying to change?

Jason: Most of my bad habits revolved around snack food or fast food. I was active — I did a lot of walking, but I used that walking to justify eating a lot of junk food. I’d stop at a convenience store for a bag of chips or I’d say, “Well, I walked today, so I can go to McDonald’s.” That logic didn’t work on a lot of levels, so I gained weight. Did you notice any physical limitations when you were heavier?

Jason: A few months before I started Weight Watchers Online, I was in Orlando in the middle of August — it was hot and humid. My friends and I are huge Harry Potter fans, and we were meeting at Universal's Islands of Adventure. After walking there, I just felt like I couldn’t stay because I was going to pass out. I got a sports drink, walked out and just stayed in my room for a while. That was a little scary. So what was it about Weight Watchers Online that clicked for you? What kinds of healthy changes did you make?

Jason: I needed a weight-loss plan I could stick to and something that was long-term. Weight Watchers was a natural choice. Just one week in, when I lost 5 pounds without significantly changing my habits, I knew this was going to work for me. One of the changes I did make was having a healthy breakfast. Now I’m always having yogurt, fruit and prunes in the morning. I know that sort of sounds like an old-person thing, but it’s really worked for me. I also always have a carton of grape tomatoes in my house, so I can go to that for snacks. If I did want a bag of chips, I just had a small bag, paired with the tomatoes. How did you handle eating out?

Jason: I do eat out a bit, at least once a week. At restaurants, I tried to stay away from the fried stuff, although I love French fries, so if I had them, I would just leave half the portion on the plate. I looked for healthier things — grilled chicken instead of a burger, or bison instead of beef. At a seafood restaurant, I had baked haddock. I’d never had that before — I’d always had fried fish — but baked, it was pretty good. Did you add more fitness to your routine?

Jason: I ramped up my fitness level incrementally. I had tried to get in shape in the past by running, but I’d step it up too much, too quickly. After two or three weeks, I’d suddenly have pain in my legs, pain in my feet, so I never really got it off the ground. Once I started losing some weight, I started feeling healthier in general. I began running 30 minutes three times a week, then built to 35 minutes three times a week and 40 minutes once a week. What were the reactions of your friends and family?

Jason: Even though he never said anything, my dad was really concerned that I was going to run into some health problems if things didn’t change. Since I’ve been on Plan, he’s been really excited and supportive any time I’ve talked to him about weight loss. Early on, we actually looked at the mobile app together on my iPad and looked at how high in PointsPlus® values my fast-food meals really were. It was eye-opening. There’s been a lot of support from friends. I tracked my weight, not only in my Weight Tracker but also posting updates every Monday morning on Facebook. Whenever I reached a milestone, whether it was 50 pounds lost or dropping under 200 pounds, I had a lot of people supporting me. There were even friends who said, “If Jason can do it, I can do it too.” What would you say to another guy who wants to lose weight but is hesitant to try Weight Watchers?

Jason: You have to be in the right place mentally. If you’re not committed to it, it doesn’t matter if you’re using Weight Watchers or a fad diet or whatever; it’s just not going to work for you long-term. But if you try Weight Watchers, you’re probably not going to feel deprived. You’ll surprise yourself with how well you’re eating — and that you’re still losing weight. You’re doing it with lots of wonderful options and real food.