Running Toward Her Goals

 It’s easy to tell other people that you believe in them, but you also have to learn to believe in yourself. 
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
After battling eating disorders and constant negative self-talk, Dani joined Weight Watchers to lose weight and learn to love herself. Now she’s a six-time marathoner, a Weight Watchers Leader and an overall happier person.
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In Dani’s words

I decided to lose weight because I wanted to be happy. At my heaviest I was miserable. I didn’t like the person I was and I didn’t like what I was seeing in the mirror. I knew I had to make a change. I knew that Weight Watchers would be the only way to lose the weight because I wanted to lose it in a healthy way. In the past I’d battled some really tough eating disorders, so I knew that in order to make this stick, I needed a lifestyle change. I decided to join Weight Watchers meetings.

Activity adjustment

Before Weight Watchers, I was a gym rat. I’d do two hours of cardio every day. But then I’d go and eat tater tots, which really wasn’t the best way to re-fuel. I couldn’t understand why I was working out so much and not losing weight. But Weight Watchers taught me that I was overeating, eating too much fast food and going out too much. The workouts were basically doing nothing.

Once I started eating better, losing weight and feeling comfortable in my own body, I started trying new classes at the gym. I finally tried spinning. Four years later, I’m a certified spin instructor. Now I think about how one small change can really change your life. Weight Watchers has given me the confidence to branch out and go outside my comfort zone. It also helped me rekindle my love of running. I would not be a six-time marathoner without Weight Watchers.

Making changes

I used to eat a bagel along with coffee and heavy cream every morning. I’d usually have a sandwich and chips for lunch and then takeout for dinner. I was eating three huge meals with snacks in between. On top of that, my office at the time had free candy, so I was eating that every day just because it was there! Little did I know how many PointsPlus values that really was.

Now I eat so much more fruit. I have lots of smaller, healthier meals throughout the day as opposed to three blowout meals. I definitely cook more now and I eat more salads than sandwiches. I still have a bagel as a once- or twice-a-month treat that I look forward to and appreciate more now. Before Weight Watchers there was just no balance. Since I’ve found that balance I’m so thankful for it.

Nixing the negative

When I started attending Weight Watchers meetings there was a focus on nixing the negative and learning how positive speech leads to positive actions. I really took that to heart because I realized I was hurting myself by always putting myself down. I’d say to myself, “The weight’s not going to stay off, you’re going to gain it back.” Now I ask myself, “Would you say that to a friend?” Usually the answer is absolutely not. Now if I slip up and say something negative to myself, I try to balance it with a positive comment and it’s made such a difference.

Overcoming challenges

One of my biggest setbacks was when I had a herniated disk in 2010. I wasn’t allowed to work out for six months. My first thought was that I was going to gain back all the weight I’d lost. But I realized if I just followed the Plan, it would be OK. I lost about 10 pounds during that six-month period. Would I have liked it to be more? Obviously. But I didn’t gain the weight back, which is what I was really happy about. It showed me that even if I wasn’t able to exercise, I was still able to find success on Plan.

Meetings matter

Meetings changed my life. There’s such a feeling of support and understanding. I like to tell the story of the Cheese Cracker Incident of 2012: I ate an entire box of them in about 20 minutes. I told that story to my meeting members and they said, “I understand. It’s OK. We’re going to move on.” To have other people relate to you and your struggles is amazing. It’s a 100% judgment-free zone. That’s why I decided to become a Weight Watchers Leader. I wanted to cheer others on. It’s such an honor to be able to motivate people and help them succeed in their weight-loss journeys.

Boston Strong

I ran the Boston Marathon in April 2013. The crowd was so engaging and some of my Weight Watchers members were actually along the course cheering me on. But when I crossed the finish line I was actually really angry because I didn’t get the time I was shooting for. It was then that the first explosion went off. At first I thought it was celebratory canons. And then the second one went off, the mayhem started and I knew that something was really wrong. At the time my dad and my wife were closer to the explosions and I couldn’t find them. What was supposed to be one of the best days of my life was suddenly one of the scariest. Luckily, I was reunited with my family and no one was injured, but it really made me stop taking things for granted. A lot of people who were injured that day will never run again. So now every time I think I want to skip a run because I’m tired, I tell myself I’m running for those people that can’t. That’s what pushes me to keep going. I ran the race again in 2014.

Slow and steady wins the race

The hardest part of losing weight for me was remembering I’m worth it. Sure, there were ups and downs but I always reminded myself I was doing this for me and my health. How long it takes doesn’t matter. It took me two years to get to goal and I always say, “I took the scenic route.”

Today my skirt is a size six. When I started Weight Watchers I was a size 20. As much as losing weight is about the food, it’s also about loving your body. It’s about accepting the “before” and living in the “after.” I’m actually living in the moment now. It’s easy to tell other people that you believe in them, but you also have to learn to believe in yourself.